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1873-4 AND 18T4-5. 




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United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, 

Washington, February 20, 1875. 
Gentlemen: In compliance with the order of Congress, I transmit 
herewith my report for 1873-74 and 1874-75 as United States Commis- 
siooer of Fish and Fisheries, embracing: first, the result of inquiries into 
the causes of the decrease of the food-fishes of the sea-coast and lakes of 
the United States; and, secondly, the history of the measures taken for 
the propagation of food-fishes by stocking the rivers and lakes with 
shad, salmon, and other valuable species. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 


Hon. Henry Wilson, 

President of the United States Senate; and 
Hon. Jas. G. Blaine, 

Speaker of the House of Representatives. 






1. Investigations of 1873 vn 

Reason for selecting Portland, Me., as base of operations vn 

Assistance rendered by the Navy Department vn 

The steam-tng Blue Light vn 

Associates in the inquiry vra 

Numbers of living forms found in the waters of the region Viir 

Mackerel, cod, and herring fisheries vm 

Fish-food vm 

Biological researches ix 

Physical researches IX 

Collections for scientific museums ix 

List of visitors at Peak's Island station ix 

Apparatus used on the Blue Light IX 

The region southeast from Cape Elizabeth x 

The region at the upper end of Casco Bay x 

Proof of climatic changes on the northern Atlantic coast x 

Assistance rendered by the United States Coast Survey X 

The steamer Bache x 

Assistance rendered by the Treasury Department xi 

The revenue steamer McCulloch xi 

The revenue steamer Chase xi 

Assistan ce rendered by the Quartermaster Department of the Army xi 

2. Investigations in 1874 xi 

Reasons for selecting Noank, Conn., as base of operations.... XI 

Assistance rendered by the Navy Department xi 

The steam-tug Blue Light xi 

General character of work prosecuted xi 

Experiments in propagating sea-bass Xil 

Visit to shad-hatching station at Holyoke, Mass xn 

Experiments in inuring embryo shad to sea-water xil 

Shipment of shad to Germany xn 

Discoveries of species before unknown to the coast xm 

Associates in the inquiry xm 

List of visitors to the Noank station xm 

Special report to be made on invertebrates Xiv 

Cold currents Xiv 

Assistance rendered by United States Coast Survey Xiv 

The steamer Bache Xiv 

Experiment with preservatives ■. XV 


3. Extent of the work xv 

Regions benefited XV 

The value of fish-propagation to China xvt 

Reasons why the work cannot be left to State action xvi 

The plan as regards the propagation of the shad xvi 

Extent of the California-salmon work xvil 

The possible resources of rivers xvn 

The proposed introduction of the carp XVH 

Former abundance of fishes xvn 




4. The shad xvin 

The hatching and distribution of 1874 xvrn 

The waters benefited in the United States xvin 

The shipment to Germany xvm 

The hatching and distribution of 1875 xvin 

The Neuse River of North Carolina XIX 

The Pamunkey Eiver of Virginia xix 

The reconnaissance of the Potomac fisheries XIX 

The stations and results on the Potomac xix 

Distribution from Coeymans Landing, N. Y., on the Hudson xix 

Distribution from South Hadley Palls, Mass., on the Connecticut Eiver XIX 

Distribution from. Point Pleasant, Pa., on the Delaware River XX 

Review of the Hbors of the season XX 

Experiments by Fred Mather and H. "W. Welsher, with a view to transporting shad long 

distances xxi 

The shipment to Germany xxi 

Experiments with a view to transporting shad in sea-water xxn 

Experiments with a view to transporting shad of several inches length xxn 

5. The California salmon.. xxn 

Mr. Livingston Stone's operations in 1873 xxil 

The final hatching of the eggs in eastern waters xxm 

Mr. Livingston Stone's operations in 1874 xxm 

Qualities of the California salmon xxrv 

Observations of temperature in San Joaquin River xxv 

Observations of temperature in McCloud River xxvi 

Observations of temperature in Columbia River xxvi 

Comparison of physical conditions of the rivers of the Atlantic slope and Gulf of Mexico 

with Pacific streams xxvi 

Distances which anadromous species will travel inland xxvill 

The great vigor of the California salmon xxix 

The reasons for expectation of success in introducing California salmon in eastern waters. xxix 

The great addition to the food resources XXX 

6. The Atlantic salmon xxx 

Mr. Atkins' operations in 1873-74 and 1874-75 XXX 

The number of breeding salmon bought and manipulated xxxi 

Marking the fish when released xxxi 

Recapture of marked fish xxxi 

7. The white fish xxxn 

8. The carp of Europe '. xxxu 

Its qualities and habits xxxn 

Numerous domesticated varieties xxxni 

The best varieties xxxv 

Its artificial propagation xxxv 

Localities in Europe where they are bred xxxv 

Desirability of the carp for the United States xxxvi 

9. The aquarium car xxxvn 

The trip of 1873 XXXVII 

The trip of 1874 XXXVII 

10. Tables of distribution of food-fishes xxxvm 

Tables of shad hatching and distribution xxxvin 

Tables of California salmon distribution XL 

Tables of Atlantic salmon distribution _.. , XLV 


The duties intrusted to the United States Commissioner of Fish and 
Fisheries, as established by joint resolution of the Senate and House of 
Eepresentatives of the United States the 9 th of February, 1871, are two- 
fold: first, an investigation into the cause of the decrease of the sea- 
coast fishes and those of the rivers and lakes, with suggestions as to the 
best methods of restoring the same; second, active measures looking 
toward the propagation and multiplication of the useful food-fishes, 
either by restocking depleted waters or by introducing desirable species 
into new localities. 

In the two reports already published will be found a history of the 
measures adopted to accomplish these ends during the years 1871, 1872, 
and the first half of 1873; and I now proceed to give the history of the 
labors of the commission from July 1, 1873, to July 1, 1875.* 



The labors of the Commission commenced at Wood's Hole, Massachu- 
setts, in 1871, while the season of 1872 was passed at Eastport, in the 
Bay of Fundy. For the purpose of more completely developing the 
economical and natural history of the coast of Maine, the chief seat of 
the herring and cod fisheries, Portland was selected as a second station 
in that State from which to prosecute the inquiries of the Commission 
in 1873. Quarters were accordingly secured at Peak's Island, about 
three miles from the city, where a wharf, with buildings, and good anchor- 
age near by, furnished the necessary facilities. 

The law of Congress authorizing the Commission instructs the heads 
of all the Government departments to render it such assistance as may 
be in their power; and, in obedience to this requirement, the Secretary 
of the Navy granted the use of a stanch vessel of about 100 feet in 
length and nearly one hundred tons burden, then stationed at the Wash- 
ington navy-yard, and not required at the time for other purposes — the 
steam-tug Blue Light. Commander L. A. Beardslee, of the U. S. Navy, 

* The printing of the reports for the years 1873-4 and 1874-5 was ordered separately 
by Congress; but no provision having been made for extras, and unavoidable delays 
having occurred in the printing, it has been thought best to publish the two in a 
single volume. 



was placed in charge of the vessel, and a suitable crew furnished from 
the navy -yard. 

Various alterations were made in the vessel to better adapt her for the 
purposes to which she was to be applied. A pilot-house was erected on the 
upper deck, the old one being converted into a laboratory, and a small 
donkey-engine placed on the forward part of the deck to work the 
dredge and trawl. Leaving Washington in charge of her commander 
on the 28th of June, the Blue Light reported at Peak's Island for duty 
on the 8th of July. She proved to be everything that could be desired 
for her purposes ; her light draught (about 7 feet) enabling her to run 
into the bays and harbors along the coast, and her seaworthiness to go 
off considerable distances to the outer banks. As on previous occa- 
sions, Professor Verrill, of Yale College, took the more immediate- 
charge of the researches into the invertebrates, while numerous special- 
ists were also members of the party for a greater or less length of time, 
among whom were Prof. Sidney J. Smith, of New Haven ; Prof. J. E. 
Todd, of Tabor College, Iowa ; Prof. E. T. Nelson, of Delaware Col- 
lege, Ohio; Prof. E. N. Rice, of the Wesley an University, Middletown; 
Dr. P. P. Carpenter, of Montreal ; Dr. J. B. Holder, of the American 
Museum, Central Park, New York; Mr. G. Brown Goode, curator of 
the museum of the University of Middletown, Conn. ; Prof. Theodore 
Gill and Dr. E. Palmer, of Washington ; Mr. J. B. Th acker, of New 
Haven ; Mr. C. B. Fuller, of Portland ; Mr. Spencer F. Biddle, of Phila- 
delphia, and others. 

The work of investigation into the general and economical history of the 
fishes and other marine animals was prosecuted with unremitting energy, 
and resulted in the acquisition of many important collections and ob- 
servations. According to a rough estimate, 62 species of fishes, 130 of 
articulates, 145 of worms, 215 of mollusks, 34 of radiates, 50 of acalephs, 
30 of sponges, and 50 of plauts, or about 750 in all, were identified ; 
while the number of minute crustaceans, aud other diminutive objects, re- 
quiringfurther investigation, will probably amount to nearly as many more. 
The present history and statistics of the mackerel, cod, herring, alewives, 
menhaden, &c, was well worked out as far as peculiar to the coast. 
The contents of the stomachs of all the fishes taken, under different 
circumstances, were examined and recorded, and important generaliza- 
tions reached as to the relationships between the fish, their food, and 
the differing regions of the sea-bottom. Among other collections made 
by the Commission were numerous specimens of a species of flounder, 
Pleuronectes glaber, known heretofore by only a single specimen de- 
scribed by Storer in his great work on the " Fishes of Massachusetts." 

The collection of invertebrates embraced very many extremely inter- 
esting species, some of them entirely new, and others found for the first 
time on this coast. Among these may be mentioned a species of Hya- 
loncrna. lloltenia, and some other very remarkable siliceous sponges which 
have lately attracted much attention from naturalists. Some very rare 


radiates weie also secured, among them Comatula, Cerianthus, Schiz- 
aster, Astrogonium, &c. 

The opportunity was of course embraced to study the habits and 
structures of the animals collected during the season and kept in aqua- 
ria ; and the nit ist of the expedition, Mr. J. E. Emerton, made over 300 
drawings of these from life mostly of species never before figured, ex- 
cepting, possibly, a few from shriveled alcoholic specimens. 

In addition to the biological researches, attention was paid to ques- 
tions connected with the physics of the deep seas, this branch of the 
work being more particularly under the direction of Captain Beards- 
lee, the commander of the steamer. These consisted of a determina- 
tion of the temperature of the surface-, median-, and bottom -water, at 
numerous localities, and a daily record at the anchorage of the steamer 
off Peak's Island. Specimens of the water were also brought up from 
various depths and secured in well-sealed bottles for examination as to 
specific gravity, chemical composition, and gaseous constituents. 

As on previous occasions, the occasion was made use of by some of 
the associates of the Commission and its visitors, to secure specimens for 
various public museums, principally those of colleges, among others an 
extensive collection was gathered by Dr. Holder for the American Muse- 
um of Natural History, Central Park, New York. Alter the collections 
have been thoroughly worked up a distribution of duplicates will be 
made from the stock reserved by the Commission. 

Among the numerous visitors to the headquarters of the commission 
during its sojourn at Peak's Island, some of them members of the 
American Association for the Advancement of Science, attending its 
meeting at Portland, were Dr. J. W. Dawson, of Montreal; Messrs. 
Stilwell and Stanley, fish-commissioners of Maine ; Mr. C. G. Atkins, of 
Bucksport ; J. W. Miluer, of Waukegan, 111. j Professor Atwater, of Mid- 
dletown, Conn. ; Prof. Joseph Henry ; Captain Walker, United States 
Navy ; Mr. E. B. Elliot; Dr. T. M. Brewer, of Boston ; J. W. Harper, 
of New York, and many others. Mr. W. C. Wyckoff, of the New York 
Tribune, spent much time on the island in making himself familiar with 
the operations of the Commission, embodying the results of his inqui- 
ries in a series of illustrated letters published by the Tribune in connec- 
tion with the report of the proceedings of the American Association as 
one of its " lecture extras." 

The Secretary of the Navy also visited the station, and spent several 
days in examining the operations of the Commission. 

As already mentioned, the success of the operations of the season of 
1873 was very greatly facilitated by the service of the Blue Light and her 
force. Special assistance was found in the steam-windlass for hoisting 
the dredges and trawls; besides saving labor, this permitted more fre- 
quent hauls in each day's excursion. 

All the known forms of apparatus for deep-sea research were tried by 
the commission, including a full series of that used on the Porcupine 


and the Challenger. Among these may be mentioned the so-called 
accumulator, a device by which sudden strain on the dredge-rope is 
relieved and its breakage prevented, the use of which, however, was 
entirely superseded by a very simple "check-stop" invented by Captain 
Beardslee — an arrangement perfectly available for all uses in moderate 
weather and at depths less than five hundred fathoms. 

Among the most interesting regions explored, were the deeper waters 
outside of Casco Bay, fifteen to thirty miles southeastfrom Cape Elizabeth. 
Here the bottom was of soft mud, with more or less numerous scattered 
bowlders. The bottom temperature varied from 36° to 40°, while that 
of the surface was usually between 55° and 65°, or even higher. The 
temperatures obtained here proved to be quite as low as in the deeper 
parts of the Bay of Fundy, while the fauna was correspondingly Arc- 
tic in character. For full details, however, in regard to the physical 
and other peculiarities, relating more particularly to the marine inver- 
tebrates, the reader is referred to Professor VerrilPs report. 

In a zoological point of view, another most interesting locality worked 
up during the expedition, was a small sheltered cove at the upper end 
of Casco Bay, about thirty miles northeast of Portland, known as being 
inhabited by the round clam ( Venus mercenaria), a species not found 
living elsewhere on the coast of Maine. A visit to that place showed a 
genuine colony of various species now met with only on the south side 
of New England. A critical examination of the specimens at present 
found there and elsewhere in the vicinity of Portland, proves, in Profes- 
sor VerrilPs opinion — first, that in the Post-Pliocene and Champlain 
periods the coast was at a lower level, and the marine climate of Casco 
Bay colder than at present, probably about that of the present New 
fouudlaud or Labrador coast ; second, that at a subsequent period, when 
the coast had attaiued nearly or quite its present level, the marine tem- 
perature was considerably higher than at present ; third, that the tem- 
perature of these waters has gradually declined, but was still somewhat 
higher at the period when the Indian shell-heaps were formed than at 
present. A similar conclusion is reached by the examination of a colony 
of somewhat similar character on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Professor 
Verrill ascribes the survival of these earliest colonies to the fact that 
in the increasing coldness of the water, which exterminated certain ani- 
mal forms not fitted to such temperature, the peculiar isolation and 
physical condition of the localities in question were such as to protect 
the inhabitants from the general fate of their neighbors along the coast. 
He thinks the causes of such chauges may have been entirely local, and 
due to changes in the relative level of land and water in adjacent 

For the purpose of making observations at a greater distance from the 
coast than could be reached by the Blue Light, Professor Peirce, Superin- 
tendent of the Coast Survey, kindly authorized the use of the Coast 


Survey steamer Bache, for research in the outer waters betweeu Mount 
Desert and Cape Cod. 

The steamer was uuder the command of Captain Howell, and for a cer- 
tain period under that of Lieutenant Jaques,whilethescientificlabors were 
conducted by Dr. A. S. Packard, jr., and Mr. Caleb Cook. Several suc- 
cessful cruises resulted in large collections of rare and little known in- 
vertebrates, including many Arctic forms previously unknown on the 
American coast. An especially interesting collection was made in the 
vicinity of Cashe's Ledge. 

In addition to the above-mentioned assistance rendered the Fish Com- 
mission by the Navy Department and the United States Coast Survey, 
in compliance with the law of Congress, it should be stated that, as 
heretofore, the Secretary of the Treasury allowed the detail of the reve- 
nue-cutter of the station, (theMcCullough, Captain Treadway command- 
ing,) whenever she could be spared, and at a later period the use of the 
steamer Chase, on Lake Ontario, to assist Mr. Seth Green in securing the 
spawn of whitefish and salmon-trout, by carrying himself and his men 
to the fishing-stations and bringing back the eggs, which were then 
transferred to Bochester for treatment in behalf of the United States 
and the State of New York. 

Further aid was rendered by the Quartermaster-General, who, by 
permission of the Secretary of War, furnished two tents for the use of 
Dr. Slack and his party while engaged in shad-hatching on the Dela- 
ware Eiver, to be referred to hereafter. 


In selecting a station for the purpose of prosecuting marine explora- 
tions during the year 1874, a locality was sought for sufficiently remote 
from any previously occupied to furnish additional data in reference to 
the extension and the geographical distribution of the food fishes of the 
coast and the objects upon which they prey ; and after a consultation 
with Professor Verrill, the associate of the Commission in this branch 
of the inquiry, the village of Noank, Conn., on Fisher's Sound, was 
chosen. This is situated in the town of Groton, New London County, 
at the mouth of Mystic Eiver, about midway between New London 
and Stonington, and sufficiently remote from Wood's Hole, the station 
of the Commission in 1871,to permitsomeimportant zoological differences. 

The station was reached with a portion of my party on the 29th of 
June, Professor Verrill and his assistants arriving shortly after, when 
I immediately proceeded to arrange for a laboratory in the usual man- 
ner. The steam-tug Blue Light, which had been laid up during the 
preceding winter at Portsmouth, N. H., was again kindly furnished to 
the Commission by the Secretary of the Navy, with Commander L. A. 
Beardslee, U. S. N., as before, in charge of the vessel, and reached 
Noank on the 10th of July, in excellent condition. As in previous years, 
the station of the Commission was visited by a large number of gentle- 


men, many of them specialists in marine zoology, and others having a 
general interest in the objects of the Commission. During the season 
the Blue Light was continuously occupied on her trips, losing but little 
time for repairs or other purposes. The principal points visited by her, 
in addition to the waters adjacent to Noank, were Block Island, Gardi- 
ner's and Peconic Bay, Montauk Point, the mouth of the Connecticut, 
&c, a range of from thirty to forty miles from the starting-point. 

Noank possesses special advantages for fishery inquiries, the inhab- 
itants being engaged almost entirely in fishing, and a large number of 
smacks being owned at that place, some of which are employed in fishing 
off the Florida coast during the winter ; but which in summer are all oc- 
cupied in the vicinity, or in trips to the outer banks. Every day numer- 
ous cargoes of fish which were brought in for shipment to New York and 
elsewhere, furnished the means of studying the species in their varying 
condition of age and season. A full series was obtained for the collections 
of the Commission, either for photographing or modeling in plaster. 

Experiments were made toward the end of July, by Mr. Fred Mather, 
in regard to the possibility of the artificial propagation of sea-bass 
(Centroprisles atrarius), and a considerable number of eggs were success- 
fully impregnated and placed in hatching-boxes. Unfortunately, how- 
ever, it was found impossible without more extensive precautions than 
we were prepared to adopt to properly protect the boxes against the 
weather, and a severe storm at the end of July emptied the boxes 
and ended the experiment. The experiment, however, will be again 
tried, as it is believed that the process of artificial propagation is as 
available for the reproduction of many of the sea-fishes as for those of 
fresh water. Among these may be especially mentioned the sea-bass, 
the tautog, the striped bass, the scup, &c. 

On the 22d of July, I visited the Holyoke shad-hatching station of 
the Commission, in charge of Mr. Milner, and found great activity pre- 
vailing, and a very successful effort in connection with the distribution 
of the fish. 

On the 15th of August, Mr. Milner reached Noank, accompanied by 
Mr. Griswold, one of his assistants, for the purpose of testing the effect 
of the introduction of young shad into salt water, the details of which 
experiment will be found under the subject of " shad," and also in Mr. 
Milner's special report on the subject. It may, however, be here stated 
in general terms, that in adding salt water to the fresh in which the 
fish were kept, it was found that up to a certain percentage the fish 
were about as vigorous as in entirely fresh water, although a sudden 
transfer from fresh to salt water resulted in their speedy death. 

With a view of ascertaining the length of time during which shad 
could be carried safely from one point to another, it was determined to 
try the experiment of forwarding a number of young fish to Europe, 
this answering the purpose of a test of the possibilities in the case. If 
the experiment met with success, the favor of the German government 


in presenting to the United States a quarter of a million of the salmon 
of the Rhine could be reciprocated. Messrs. Fred Mather and A. A. 
Anderson were detailed for the purpose, and visited Noank on the begin- 
ning of August to receive instructions, the steamer leaving New York on 
the 5th of August. Unfortunately the experiment was a failure, the fish 
dying a few days after the vessel left, These gentlemen returned to 
Noank on the 11th of September for the purpose of presenting their 
report. Full reference to this subject will be found under the head of 
the subject of " Propagation of shad for 1874," and in an appendix, and 
further allusion to it here is necessary only to renew the reference to the 
great liberality of the North German Lloyd in granting free passage 
to the two gentlemen mentioned above, with their freight, to Bremen 
and return. 

The steamer Blue Light went out of commission on the 9th of Sep- 
tember, and was laid up, under the direction of the Secretary of the 
Navy, at New London ; after which the work of the Commission was 
prosecuted almost entirely by means of sail and row boats. 

Many interesting discoveries were made in the way of additions of 
previously unrecorded species on the coast, and in extending the area of 
the distribution of others. A general sketch of the results, so far as 
the invertebrates are concerned, will be found in an article by Professor 

The labors of the Commission at Noank extended over the months ot 
July, August, and September. Professor Verrill and his party left early 
in September, but the other divisions were occupied until the beginning 
of October. Remaining a few days to settle up the business of the 
Commission, I left for Washington on the 8th of October. 

The working party of the Commission, for the most part, consisted of 
the following gentlemen : Prof. A. E. Verrill, of Yale College, in charge 
of the dredging operations, and of the department of marine zoology, 
with the exception of the fishes, having as special assistants Prof. S. 
J. Smith, Mr. S. F. Clark, Mr. Turnbull, of Yale College, and Prof. N. 
S. Rice, of Wesleyan University, Middletown. 

The department of the fishes was under the direction of Mr. G. 
Brown Goode, of the Smithsonian Institution, assisted by Mr. C. W. 
Schuermann and T. H. Bean of Washington, and Mr. H. C. Chester. 

The algologists were Prof. D. C. Eaton, of Yale College, and Dr. W. 
G. Farlow,of Cambridge, assisted by Messrs. Livingston and Klaburger. 
Prof. A. Hyatt, of the Society of Natural History, Boston, with Mr. 
Richard Rathburn, and Mr. Saltonstall, of Boston, were also members 
of the party. 

Among the visitors who devote more or less of their time to natural 
history investigations, and who availed themselves of the material pro- 
vided by the Commission, or who desired to become acquainted with its 
methods, may be mentioned Dr. Joseph Leidy, Prof. Henry Chapman, 
and Dr. Horatio Allen, of Philadelphia j Prof. D. C. Jordan, of India- 


nnpolis ; Prof. F. W. Putnam, of Salem ; General A. B. Eaton, Dr. Theo- 
dore Gill, and Dr. E. Bessels, of Washington ; Mr. W. 0. Wyckoff, and 
Dr. J. B. Holder, of New York; Mr. O. S. Westeott, of Chicago; Prof. 
J. Hammond Trumbull, and Dr. W. O. Ayres, of Hartford; Mr. W. T. 
Parker, and M. W. Humphrey, of West Meriden, Conn. 

The State fish commissioners, or persons specially interested in fish-cul- 
ture, visiting the station during the summer, were Messrs. Alfred Eead, 
jr., Newton Dexter, and J. Barden, of Rhode Island; Dr. M. C.Ed- 
munds, of Vermont ; Dr. W. W. Pletcher, of New Hampshire ; G. C. 
Anderson, of New Jersey ; Mr. J. W. Milner, Fred Mather, A. A. An- 
derson, and C. D. Griswold, of the United States Fish Commission. 

The results of Professor Verrill's labors, and those of his associates 
in the department of marine natural history and plants, will be fur- 
nished in a special report; although it may be proper here to state that 
over one hundred species of invertebrates, new to the fauna of New 
England, were secured, most of them northern species, and many unde- 

The principal localities over which dredgings were made were Fish- 
er's Island Sound ; Block Island Sound ; off Block Island and south of 
Montauk Point; the eastern part of Long Island Sound; from Fisher's 
Island and Gardiner's Island to the mouth of the Connecticut River ; 
the shallow waters in the harbors and estuaries near Noank ; Gardiner's 
Bay, Long Island ; Great Peconic and Little Peconic Bays and Green- 
port Harbor, Long Island. These latter localities showed temperatures 
much higher than the others, and furnished correspondingly southern 
types of animal life. 

It was clearly shown by the investigations of the Commission that 
there is a very decided flow of cold currents through Fisher's Island 
Sound and Block Island Sound into Long Island Sound, and along the 
deeper parts of the latter for a great distance, especially toward the 
southern and deeper side. The influence of this cold current is very 
apparent as far west as New Haven in the deeper parts of the sound. 
According to Professor Verrill its flowing into Long Island Sound is 
due largely to the influence of the tidal currents modified by the local 
wind- currents. On the other hand, the much higher temperature of 
such inclosed localities as the Peconic Bays may be safely attributed to 
the direct heat of the sun over a broad expanse of shallow water, from 
which the cold currents are excluded. 

As in previous years assistance was rendered by the Coast Survey in 
carrying on operations at distances remote from the coast, and which 
the Blue Light was not suited to reach. A part of the month of Sep- 
tember was occupied by the steamer Bache, under command of Captain 
Piatt, in dredging operations off the coast of Maine. The scientific 
work was in charge of Dr. A. S. Packard, assisted by Mr. C. Cook and 
Mr. Robert Rathburn. Dredgings at about forty stations were made off 
the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire, at various depths, down to 


125 fathoms. The results of this investigation will also be found in 
Professor VerrilPs report. 

The attention of Professor Verrill and his party, especially of Prof. 
W. N. Rice, was directed to investigations as to the best method of 
preserving the invertebrates for museum purposes, and to improved 
methods for killing in an expanded state such species as usually con- 
tract when placed in alcohol. In regard to the preservation of Actiniae 
very satisfactory results were obtained by slowly adding a saturated 
solution of picric acid to a small quantity of sea-water in which they 
had been allowed to expand. When fairly dead they were transferred 
to a pure saturated solution of the acid and allowed to remain from one 
to three hours, according to size. They were then placed in alcohol of 
about 60 to 70 per cent, for permanent preservation. The alcohol should 
be renewed after a day or two, and this repeated until the water is all 
absorbed from the specimen. 

It was found that hydroids and most kiuds of jelly-fishes can be easily 
and beautifully preserved in the same way, but of these the specimens 
may usually be placed alive directly in the acid of full strength. The 
success with osmic acid was not so marked, the specimens contracting 
more, and finally becoming so darkly stained as to render them useless. 
Various trials were made with different kinds of drugs for the purpose 
of killing marine animals in an expanded state, but no better method 
was discovered than that of allowing them to suffocate in stale sea- water 



The work of propagation and distribution of food-fishes has been en- 
larged year by year. Applications have been received from all of the 
States and from four Territories. This has necessitated a continual ex- 
pansion of the plans for each season's work. 

The work of the United States Fish Commission in multiplying use- 
ful food-fishes was commenced in 1872, and has been prosecuted with 
satisfactory results up to the present time. 

The species to which special attention has been directed are the shad 
(Alosa sapidissima,) fresh-water herring or alewive, (Pomolobus pseudo- 
harengus,) striped bass or rock-fish (Roccus lineatus,) California salmon 
(Salmo quinnat,) the salmon of Maine (Salmo salar,) land-locked salmon 
(Salmo sebago,) white-fish (Coregonus albus,) and the carp (Cyprinus carpio 
and var.,) each of these having special relations to certain portions of 
the country, and promising in their anticipated aggregate an extremely 
important addition to the food-resources of the United States; 

The States which have so far been the direct recipients of spawn and 
young fish of more or less of these species are Maine, New Hampshire, 
Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New 
Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, 


Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Lou- 
isiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois, 
Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Utah, Nebraska, Colo- 
rado, and California ; while other States, as Alabama and Arkansas, 
which have not been the actual scene of the operations of the Commis- 
sion, have been indirectly benefited by the introduction of fish into their 
waters at points outside of the State limits, thrty-three States and two 
Territories in all. The extension of the woik to other States and its 
amplification in all is only a question of time. 

The operations of the Commission have, it is believed, given entire 
satisfaction to the people at large, as shown by the general popularity 
of the measures adopted, the great interest excited in the subject 
throughout the country, and the appointment of State fish commissions 
in nineteen States, in most instances for the purpose of directly co-oper- 
ating with the United States Commission in its efforts to secure from 
the waters their fullest yield of animal food. This has rightly been con- 
sidered an object of the greatest importance in view of the rapidly-in- 
creasing population of the United States and the almost corresponcftng 
diminution in the average yield of vegetable food by the farming-lands, 
and it is not considered exaggeration to say that the water can be made 
to yield a larger percentage of nutriment, acre for acre, than the land. 

A further evidence of the importance of this effort is shown by the 
fact that China, with its enormous population, greater to the square 
mile than that of any other part of the world, derives the largest por- 
tion of its animal food from the interior waters of the empire, the meth- 
ods of fish-cultivation there being conducted in a very efficient manner, 
and every cubic yard of pond and stream thoroughly utilized. 

It is well to bear in mind that the work prosecuted by the United 
States Commission is in no case that which would be carried on by 
State commissions or by private enterprise. The States of Iowa, Min- 
nesota, Ohio, or Pennsylvania would not find their advantage in going 
to any great expense in the way of stocking their streams in view of 
the fact that the fish, when mature, would, on their return, enter the 
mouth of the Mississippi and traverse all the intermediate States before 
arriving within their borders, with the certainty that a large portion of 
the catch would be secured by citizens of other States. On the other 
hand, the young and immature fish, requiring the cold upper sources 
of the streams as their home, will not find in the great waters of the 
more Southern States the proper conditions for their preservation and 
growth. Furthermore, the primary outlay for securing the eggs of such 
species as the California salmon, &c, is greater than single States can 
meet, while the cost of obtaining a supply for the entire country at a 
single establishment is much less proportionately than the aggregate 
cost of separate effort. 

The plan as regards the propagation of shad is to establish hatch- 
ing-camps in March on the southernmost streams on the Atlantic 


slope, there to hatch all the eggs that can be procured, and, placing a 
portion of the young fish in the stream where they are procured, to 
transmit the remainder to other waters now entirely unprovided. This 
operation would be continued by removing the camps northward as the 
season advanced until the Connecticut Eiver is reached, toward the end 
of June, and from which the States along the Great Lakes, the Upper 
Mississippi, and the Pacific coast would be supplied. 

The California salmon is a species which can withstand the warmest 
regions of the United. States, and is extremely hardy and prolific, and 
its multiplication is considered extremely important. Some idea of the 
scale on which the work of the commission connected with this species 
has been conducted can be formed from the fact that the eggs collected 
during the season of 1875 at the United States establishment on the 
Upper Sacramento numbered about 11,000,000, with a bulk of 80 bush- 
els, and weighing, with the packing in which they were transported to 
eastern establishments, nearly 10 tons. 

In further illustration of the results that may be looked for from a 
judicious and systematic prosecution of the work of propagating the 
food-fishes, we may refer to the Potomac Eiver, in which from six to ten 
million pounds of shad and herring are taken during the spring months 
alone. There is no reason why any stream in the United States having 
direct communication with the Gulf of Mexico, or either ocean, may 
not be made to abound in an equal degree with these and other fishes, 
and in view of the aggregate of the animal food to be derived from a 
number of such streams, the importance of this work can hardly be 

Another fish to which it is proposed to devote the efforts of the Com- 
mission is the European carp, a species eminently calculated for the 
warmer waters of the country, especially the mill-ponds and sluggish 
rivers and ditches of the South. This fish has been domesticated for 
thousands of years, and is one of the species which furnish the prin- 
cipal food of the Chinese. Living on vegetable matter instead of animal, 
it can be multiplied at very little expense in restricted waters. 

It is not alone to the introduction of suitable fishes into water pre- 
viously uninhabited by them that the efforts of the Commission are 
directed, but also toward restoring a full supply to streams where they 
were formerly abundant. At one time all the rivers on the Atlantic 

* Large, however, as is the present yield of " herring" and shad in the Potomac River 
it is but a mere fraction of that which prevailed less than fifty years ago. Martin's 
Gazetteer of Virginia and the District of Columbia, published in 1835, states that the 
number of fisheries on the Potomac in the previous year was 150, and that in six 
weeks' time 22,500,000 shad and 750,000,000 herring were taken in this river. Allow- 
ing an average of three pounds for each of the shad and three-fourths of a pound 
to the herring, we have the enormous aggregate of 630,000,000 pounds of food taken, 
in a single river in six weeks' time alone, not including the immense quantity of striped 
bass or rock-fish, sturgeon, and other fish that doubtless belonged to the catch. These 
statistics, large as they appear, are corroborated by the older fishermen of the Poto- 
mac. — 8. P. B. 
F— II 


coast abounded in shad and furnished an enormous aggregate of food, 
sufficient for several months 7 supply to the inhabitants, and allowing a 
surplus for shipment, either fresh or salted. Now, however, this condi- 
tion has become a matter of tradition in regard to nearly every stream 
south of the Potomac, and nothing but artificial propagation will restore 
the stock. When, however, we bear in mind that the eggs of a single 
pair of shad, artificially treated, can be made to produce more young 
fish than those of two hundred pairs of natural spawners, the impor- 
tance of the measures adopted by the Commission will be readily appre- 

4. — THE SHAD. 

The hatching and distribution of shad began rather late in 1874, as 
the appropriation for the purpose was not available early enough for 
work in southern rivers. In the last week of June Mr. Milner proceeded 
with a force of men to the hatching-station of the New York commis- 
sioners, at Coeymans Landing on the Hudson River, from which point 
the distribution to western waters was at once begun. Four hundred 
thousand shad were placed in the tributaries of the Mississippi, in the 
Brazos and Colorado Rivers of Texas, and the tributaries of the great 
lakes. On the 3d of July the traveling parties moved to South Hadley 
Falls, Mass., on the Connecticut River. From this station over two 
Millions of shad were transferred to the tributaries of the Mississippi, of 
the great lakes, Lake Cham plain, and rivers of New England. Five 
hundred and sixty -five thousand fry were carried above the darn and 
placed in the Connecticut River, for the most part above Bellows Falls, 
Vermont. In all, three million and thirty-one thousand young shad 
were planted in waters of the United States between June 25 and Au- 
gust 15 of 1874. 

Those in charge of the transfers were very successful in transporting 
these fishes and in placing them, in a healthy condition, in the waters 
for which they were destined. 

The generous action of Germany in the gift to the United States, in 
1873, of 250,000 salmon-eggs prompted an attempt to transport some 
young shad to Germany, and the North German Lloyd Steamship 
Company kindly offering free passage for both men and fish to Bremen 
and back, the experiment was entered upon early in August. On the 
5th of August Mr. Fred Mather and Mr. A. A. Anderson left by the 
steamer Donau, captain Neinaber, with 100,000 shad-embryos, a large 
and convenient compartment was assigned for them, and the cans were 
so arranged that the movement of the ship need not affect the shad, while 
an abundance of Croton water was taken on board for their use. Un- 
fortunately, after six days the fish showed signs of distress and in ten 
days they were all dead. 

A detailed account of the trip will be found in Mr. blather's report. 
Excepting in this instance every shipment was a complete success. 

Shad -hatching in 1875 was commenced April 1. The first efforts 


were on the Neuse Eiver, North Carolina. A camp was established by 
Mr. Miluer at Kinston, in the vicinity of three fisheries, which was con- 
tinued until May 10. The river was exceedingly high during the whole 
time. Continued fishing was not begun until April 14, when the water 
had lowered sufficiently for seiue-hauling. The catch was very light^ 
and no spawners were found. 

On the 12th of May a camp was made near Fish-Haul, on the Pamunky 
Eiver, Virginia, and some fifty thousand eggs impregnated, but the ova 
not thriving well the station was continued only ten days, with results 
of no consequence. 

On the 27th of April a reconnaissance of the fisheries of the Potomac 
was made in the steam-tug Triana, United States Navy, Captain Cook, 
kindly placed at my disposal by the Secretary of the Navy. Mr. Milner 
directed the trip, the commissioners of Virginia and Maryland being 
members of the party.* The results secured by this reconnaissance were 
an intimate knowledge of the fisheries, the selection of favorable hatch- 
ing-stations, and the securing of a collection of the fishes of the river, while 
the good will of the fishery proprietors was sought for the purpose of 
facilitating the obtaining of eggs at the fisheries. A full report of the 
expedition will be found in the appendix. 

Stations were established on the Potomac at Free-Stone Point, Va., at 
the Virginia end of Long Bridge, and, later, at Moxley Point, Md., and at 
Ferry Landing, Va. The work lasted from May 15 to June 5, and about 
4,885,000 shad were released in the Potomac River. The season at the 
fisheries was a poor one. The protracted cold weather of the spring 
retarded the ripening of the ova, and the eggs did not thrive well in the 
cold waters after they were taken from the fish. In an ordinary season 
a much larger number of young shad would have been placed in the 
water as the result of such effort. Still this is to be considered as 
very fair success if compared with the hatching of 1873, which yielded 
only 1,370,400 shad for the Potomac, and 70,000 shipped to waters of 
Virginia and West Virginia. 

The season having closed in the region just referred to, traveling par- 
ties proceeded to the Hudson Eiver, arriving on the 11th of June, when 
the work of distribution began. Shipments were made from here to 
four important tributaries of the Mississippi, and to the Colorado Eiver 
of Texas, of about 425,000 young shad. 

On the 1st of July operations commenced at South Hadley Falls, 
Mass. The first shipment was started on the 7th of July, between 
which date and the 31st, transfers were made to waters in the Mississippi 
Valley, Lake Champlain, to the Atlantic Slope rivers, and the rivers of 
the Gulf States. As a general summary of the work at this station, it 
may be stated that the waters of New England other than the Connecti- 
cut Eiver received 320,000 shad ; there were carried westward and 
southward, 590,000 ; carried above the Holyoke Dam to the Upper Con- 
necticut, 1,205,000; hatched and put in below the dam, 4,500,000; sent 
to Germany, 400,000. Total, about 7,000,000. 


From Point Pleasant, Pa., shipments were made of about 200,000 shad, 
on July 8, to the headwaters of the Roanoke, in Virginia, and to the 
Pearl River, of Mississippi and Louisiana. 

The entire number of shad hatched out during the season was over 
12,500,000. The accompanying tables give the facts pertaining to their 
distribution. Preference was given this year to the Mississippi waters 
and the rivers of the Atlantic and Gulf slopes. The only shipments to 
the tributaries of the lakes were to those of Lake Champlain. 

In reviewing the labors of the season, it may be remarked that no suc- 
cess was had in southern waters, the stock of fishes being greatly re- 
duced and the hauls small, and consequently ripe male and female fish 
are rarely obtained at the same time. The Potomac, although the 
season's catch was very much diminished, afforded a larger quantity of 
eggs, but it would appear to be at a disadvantage when compared with 
the Hudson or the Connecticut for obtaining spawn. 

The head of the present migration of the shad in the Connecticut is 
the Holyoke Dam. For a half mile below the dam, the water is shoal 
and runs among projecting rocks. Just below the Holyoke Bridge is a 
deep and wide area of the river, into which the shad congregate to 
spawn. This is the seiniug-ground, and offers probably the best facili- 
ties for obtaining shad-ova of any locality in the United States. 

In the Hudson the upper spawning- ground is near Coeymans Landing, 
where a long projecting point shelters a large bayou or arm of the river. 
About twenty miles above this is the Troy dam, which, until the fish- 
way was erected, was an effectual obstruction to the fishes, but for 
some reason few shad go above Coeymans. So well recognized is this 
habit, that the occasional shad found above the Coeyman's spawning- 
ground are termed gipsies. This station of the New York commission 
is established at the spawning-grounds, where plenty of ripe fish are to 
be obtained during the season. 

The Potomac has no extensive seining-ground above the end of Long 
Bridge. Small seines, pound-nets, and skim-nets are used to the very 
foot of the falls, but no hauls are made sufficiently large to warrant a 
hatching- station with the probability of taking ripe males and females 
at each haul above the Jackson City fishery. In fact, the spawning- 
ground does not concentrate at any one point, but is found along the 
river at nearly all the shad-seining grounds. This compels a multipli- 
cation of stations, and the past season eggs were obtained from Free 
Stone Point, Ferry Landing, and the end of Long Bridge, Virginia, and 
from Moxley Point, Maryland, and in fact it would be worth wbile to 
test any fishery where there was sufficient shelter for the hatching-boxes 
from the effect of wind and sea. The Ferry Landing fishery afforded 
the largest number of eggs in 1875, although the time occupied was 
shorter than at some of the other localities. 

Hoping to favorably solve the problem as to the possibility of carrying 
young shad alive across the Atlantic Ocean, in which a failure was experi- 


enced in 1874, a shipment was determined upon during 1875, and the 
preliminary experiments were first begun at Washington underthe care 
of Mr. Fred Mather, who made the attempt the previous year. Among 
the apparatus devised by this gentleman was a cylinder of tin hung 
upon gimbals, as would be necessary at sea. Within the cylinder was 
a screen a few inches from the bottom. A current of water flowed 
through a rubber hose into an inlet in the bottom of the cylinder, and., 
rising through the screen, overflowed at the top. No success, however, 
was obtained with this contrivance, and Mr. Mather proceeded to Point 
Pleasant, Pa., to renew his experiments at the shad-hatching station 
near that point. 

A new device, however, was finally hit upon, the suggestion of Mr. 
Charles Bell, Mr. Mather's assistaut. Instead of a cylinder, a funnel- 
shaped vessel was made, the bottom above the inlet being guarded by 
a wire screen only 2 inches in diameter. The eggs were put into the fun- 
nel, and the flow of the water up through the small end lifted them toward 
the surface repeatedly as they fell back toward the bottom. Mr. Mather 
reported his experiments with this arrangement as entirely satisfactory, 
and recommended it for the Atlantic trip, as will be seen from his report 
in the appendix. 

At Coeymans Landing experiments for a similar purpose were begun 
about June 15, by Mr. Welsher, who, before they were completed, associ- 
ated with him Mr. Monroe A. Green. In these the eggs were taken soon 
after impregnation and put into a series of flannel screens, which were 
adjusted in a case in the same manner as a case of drawers. In the 
upper screen was a quantity of ice, the water from which dripped upon 
the screens below. By this process the eggs were successfully retarded 
about seven days, and then hatched out as vigorous fishes. Mr. Welsher 
having announced the success of his experiment in advance of Mr. 
Mather's completing his, he was called upon to take charge of the trip 
across the ocean. 

About four hundred thousand eggs were taken and impregnated by Mr. 
Mouroe A. Green, on the night of the 16th of July. These were all se- 
lected eggs, the lighter ones from each fish having been flowed out of the 
impregnating pans and only the heavier superior ones retained. The 
screens were filled, and the cases with a large quantity of broken ice 
placed in contact with them, packed in turners' shavings. The ship- 
ment started from New York on the steamer Mosel, Captain Neinaber, 
the 17th of July. The purpose was to carry the eggs in the cases for 
six or seven days, and then remove them to tin vessels devised by Mr. 
Green, when they were expected to hatch and the embryos to remain 
until deposited in the Weser. This hatching-apparatus was a tin fun- 
nel, quite similar in form to Messrs. Bell and Mather's ; but, instead of 
the flow of water and movement of the eggs by a stream of water, air 
was forced in from below ; the bubbles, forcing the water upward in a 
current diverging along the outward sloping sides of the funnel, raised 


the eggs with a cloud of minute bubbles of air. Nine of these funnels 
were provided with rubber hose leading to an air-reservoir filled by an 
air force-pump. Unfortunately, however, on opening the cases after 
getting under way, the eggs were found to have suffered from railroad 
jolting, and they all rapidly died before any were hatched or even the 
eye-specks had begun to show. 

At the end of the season at South Hadley Falls, Mass., Mr. Milner 
arrived at Noank, bringing with him about 45,000 shad, when experiments 
were carefully made in attempting to accustom shad to small proportions 
of sea- water. For this purpose, earthen jars with a capacity of about four 
gallons were used. The object in view was to ascertain the effect of a 
very gradual increase of sea-water. The jars received a continually- in- 
creasing proportion of sea water, until, in two of the tests, it became all 
sea- water. In the other two experiments, it was allowed to reach a cer- 
tain proportion and so remain. Other jars were assigned for tests of the 
effect of different temperatures upon the fish. It was found that shad 
placed directly in sea-water die very rapidly, but that sea-water intro- 
duced gradually and in small proportions has not a sensibly injurious 
effect. The decision, however, was against its use, unless with extreme 
caution and in very small quantities, when it is absolutely necessary for 
purifying stale water. Later in the season, Mr. Chas. D. Griswold ex- 
perimented with partially-grown shad taken at Holyoke, Mass. The re- 
sults showed far less advantage in the transportation of the older shad; 
the numbers that could be carried were but a minute fraction of the 
large numbers of embryos usually transported, while in most instances 
they did not survive as long as the younger fish. 


Mr. Livingston Stone arrived at the McOloud River station and began 
operations August 6, 1873. A pen, or corral, was built in the river, but 
it was found to be too small, the fish not retaining their vigor, while a 
large proportion of those confined in the inclosure died. The seine was 
again resorted to, and sufficient salmon taken to make up the prescribed 
quota of 2,000,000 eggs. The hatching establishment was moved to the 
bank of the river, and the water raised by a bucket-wheel turned by the 

The eggs were packed in moss in boxes two feet square by one foot 
deep, each containing 75,000 eggs. Two boxes were put into a crate, 
with a space on all sides, which was packed with hay and broken ice. 
When ready for shipment, there were about 2,000,000 in good con- 
dition. The first lot, 300,000, was shipped September 20, 1873 ; a second 
lot, 500,000, on the 30th ; a third lot, 330,000, October 7th, and a fourth 
lot, 250,000, on the 14th. A fifth lot, 20,000, was placed directly into 
the McOloud River on the 19th of October, and 500,000 were left to 
hatch. The total was 1,900,000 salmon-eggs. 

The consignees who received the eggs and arranged for their care in 


the hatching-houses where they were carried forward until the young 
fish were placed in the waters, with the number of eggs to each, 
were as follows: J. H. Slack, Bloonisbury, N. J., 550,000; James 
Duffy, Marietta, Pa., 170,000 ; Seth Green, Kochester, N. Y., 200,000 ; 
R. G. Pike, Middletown, Conn., 150,000 ; Livingston Stone, Charles- 
town, N. H., 50,000; E. A. Brackett, Winchester, Mass., 50,000 ; Charles 
G. Atkins, Bucksport, Me., 50,000 ; George H. Jerome, Niles, Mich., 
120,000 ; A. P. Eockwood, Salt Lake City, Utah, 40,000 ; Dr. W. A. 
Newell, San Francisco, Gal., 20,000. The 500,000 for the Sacramento 
waters were hatched at the station. Some of the cases of eggs arrived 
in excellent condition, while many were fouud to have heated and fer- 
mented, with but a small proportion of the eggs in a healthy condition. 
The number of fishes reported by the State commissioners as resulting 
from the 1,900,000 eggs was 1,522,930, the distribution of which is given 
in detail in the appended table. 

Mr. Stone began operations at the McCloud station on the 5th of July, 
1874. Modifications in the apparatus used were effected which resulted in 
a great improvement of the condition of the eggs. The trays in the 
hatching-boxes were quite deep, and the eggs put into them in twelve 
layers ; the water rising from below in the Williamson troughs buoyed 
the eggs so that the lower layers did not suffer from the weight of those 
above them. By this means space was economized and a very large 
number of eggs cared for. The corral, or pen, of the previous year was 
also improved upon. A substantial timber- grating was built across 
he stream somewhat in the style of that used by Professor Easch 
in the fiords of Norway. Below the fence large corrals, or pens, 
were erected, into which the salmon were gathered and retained until 
their spawn was needed. The grating was an entire bar to the salmon, 
no opening being left to permit their passing above it ; and the experi- 
ment satisfied Mr. Stone that salmon which ascend the river to spawn 
never return to the sea. The number which had passed above the grat- 
ing before it was finished, he estimated at hundreds of thousands, while 
thousands crowded against its lower side when completed, vainly at- 
tempting to pass. As to their return, he failed to discover a single live 
salmon, though thousands of dead ones lodged against the upper side of 
the grating. 

The work of developing the eggs to the point of hardiness requisite 
for their safe shipment, was continued until the 25th of September, when 
the first shipment was made. On the 18th of October, the sixth and 
last shipment was made. The whole number transmitted eastward 
was 4,155,000, which with 850,000 hatched at the station for California 
waters, make a total of 5,005,000. There were reported from these 
2,908,710 fishes distributed, and 25,000 eggs remaining to be heard 
from. November 30, the last of the fishes was placed in the waters of 
the McCloud and the camp closed for the season. The details of the 
distribution will be found in the accompanying table. 


The California salmon, believed to be the same as the quinnat salmon 
of the Columbia River (Salmo quinnat, Rich,) is one of the largest of this 
family. Its average weight in the Sacramento River is 20 pounds, while 
in overgrown individuals it is as high as 100 pounds. Its flavor when 
fresh and properly cooked is scarcely inferior to that of the Atlantic 
coast salmon (Salmo salar,) and in the markets of California and as 
far eastward as New York it is sought as a luxury, and commands 
a high price. Prepared in cans it finds a wide market throughout the 
United States and in Australia.* It is by far the most prolific fish on 
the Pacific coast. Of an anadromous habit, it swarms up the Colum- 
bia, the Sacramento, and San Joaquin Rivers in vast shoals from March 
to August, and thus becomes valuable not merely as an occasional article 
of table luxury, but as a large commercial resource. Statistics pub- 
lished in the weekly Astorian, Astoria, Oreg., for the season of 1875 on 
the Columbia River, give 13,000,000 pounds as the aggregate put up at 
the different canning establishments, which sold at the average whole- 
sale rate of eleven cents per pound, makiug a total money value of 
$1,4*30,000. Besides the sale of the fish as food the manufacture of oil 
from the heads has been begun, and this season a single fishing locality 
produced 9,000 gallons. 

Statistics procured from the books of the Central Pacific Railroad 
Company show that 4,079,025 pounds of salmon were shipped from 
points on the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers between November 1, 
1874, and August 1, 1875. (See report of California commissioners, 

P . no 

The species has proven itself thus far to be the best adapted of the 
family to the methods of artificial propagation. When properly packed 
and kept at a sufficiently low temperature the eggs endure transporta- 
tion with inconsiderable loss. Once in the hatching-troughs the loss is 
very small before hatching, while the young are possessed of great 
tenacity of life, and grow to be several months old with less loss than 
has been experienced with any other species; indeed, they are com- 
mended by all the fish -culturists who have had to do with them for 
their hardiness, activity, and good-feeding tendencies. In the mature 
stage they are capable of adapting themselves to a variety of conditions. 
They pass up the Sacramento when its waters are turbid from the great 
quantities of sediment washed into them by the rains and the extensive 

* An item published in several of the newspapers of the United States has a tendency 
to excite prejudice against canned salmon as food. It appeared under the heading 
"Poisoned by eating canned salmon," and stated that part of a can had been partaken 
of by several persons who experienced no unpleasant results, but that after two days 
the remainder of the contents of the can which had been set aside and exposed to the 
air, being again eaten of by the same persons, purging and strong symptoms of poison- 
ing resulted. The fact that such large quantities of the article are cousumed through- 
out the country with but a single instance of any ill effects suggests the possibility of 
something else than the salmon as a cause for the sickness — the accidental mixture, 
perhaps, of some deleterious article with the salmon before it was served. 


hydraulic mining operations along the banks of the river and its tribu- 
taries; they go up through the warm valley of the San Joaquin River, 
lying in the second hottest summer area of the United States, in 
large shoals, ascending the numerous side tributaries to their spawning- 
grounds. The hottest temperature area for the months of June, July, 
and August, as shown by the temperature charts for the United States, 
lately compiled for the Smithsonian Institution, is the region of the 
Gila and mouth of the Colorado Rivers in Arizona Territory. The mean 
for these mouths is 88° Fahrenheit. The valley of the San Joaquin, 
portions of Arizona, and the lower valley of the Rio Grande River have 
a mean of 84°. No other portion of the United States has so high a 
summer mean. During the months of August and September, 1875, 
temperature observations were made at the railroad bridges of the Cen- 
tral Pacific Railroad.* The maximum, minimum, and mean tempera- 
tures for the months of August and September were as follows : 


















Upper crossing . 
Lower crossing. 


Water at surface 
Water at bottom 


Water at surface 
Water at bottom 


As referred to by Mr. Milner in a communication to the commissioners 
of fisheries at their meeting in New York, February 10, 1875, the Sac- 
ramento salmon, and especially the colony entering the San Joaquin 
River, spawn in latitudes farther south than any anadromous species of 
the genus Salmo.f 

In the report of the commissioners of fisheries of the State of Califor- 
nia, for the years 1874 and 1875, the following statement is made with 
reference to the Sacramento salmon : " Large numbers pass up the San 
Joaquiu River for the purpose of spawning in July and August, swim- 
ming for one hundred and fifty miles through the hottest valley in the 
State, where the temperature of the air at noon is rarely less than 80° 
Fah., and ofteu as high as 105°, and where the average temperature of 
the river at the bottom is 79° and at the surface &0°. The salmon of 
the San Joaquin appear to be of the same variety as those in the Sac- 
ramento, but average smaller in size." Leaving the bed of the San 
Joaquin, they ascend the tributaries, the Merced, the Stanislaus, and 
others, and find their spawning-grounds in the snow- led sources of these 

*A series of observations were made on the temperature of the San Joaquin River, 
California, through the kindness of Mr. B. B. Redding, of Sacramento, commissioner 
for fisheries of California. 

tThe tronts, Salvio fontwalis, Mitch., in the Appalachian range, and Salmo pleuriticus, 
Cope, of the headwaters of the Rio Grande River, extend their range to about the same 
latitude, 37° N., as the San Joaquin salmon. 


streams. The mean temperature for the Sacramento for July, said to 
be of ten years 7 observations, is given at 74°. 66.* 

The temperature for the McCloud River was observed between the 
6th of July and the 12th of November, 1874, at 6 a. m., 3 p. m., and 6 
p. m. by Mr. Livingston Stone, the maxima, minima, and means of which 
will be found in the following table : 

Temperature, air and water, at McCloud River hatching-station. 

C 24 days ; 
' \ 26 days ; 

I 3i days ; 
" I 31 days ; 

< 27 davs ; 
* ) 27 days ; 

0°'°»er {£££! 


September . 

67 observations 
73 observations 

87 observations 
86 observations 
78 observations 
77 observations . 

88 observations 
91 observations 
30 observations 
28 observations 

Air or 

Air . . . 
Air . . . 
Air . . . 
Air . . . 
Air . . . 
















Observations of the temperatures of the Columbia River have been 
kindly furnished by the firm of the Oregon Packing Company, J. W. & 
N. Cook, proprietors. These were made in the months of May, June, 
July, and August, 1875, at 7 a. m. and 12 m. The results are shown in 
the following table : 

May, 22 days ; 44 observations 

June, 26 days ; 52 observations . . . 
July, 27 days ; 54 observations . . . 
August, 12 days ; 24 observations 







By this series of temperatures, which exhibits the maxima, minima, 
and means of the waters where the fish have their natural home, we are 
enabled to judge as to the degree of warmth they may be expected to 
endure when transported to new waters. The testimony as to the 
warmth of the San Joaquin water is the most important, reaching, 
as it does, a maximum of 84°, and showing a mean of nearly 80° during 
the two months the salmon are ascending in large numbers. But the 
high temperature is not the only seeming trouble they encounter. Ac- 
cording to the observer at the San Joaquin bridge, the water was very 
turbid at the time it was so warm, yet the salmon, passing up in large 
numbers, appeared in the clear waters of the tributaries higher up in a 
healthy, vigorous condition. 

Taking into consideration the temperature, the turbidity, the volume, 
the velocity, and the characters of the sources, as well as the other 
physical conditions of the rivers inhabited by the California salmon, it 
seems probable that a very large number of the rivers of the Eastern 

*Proceeding of the Agassiz Institute, Sacramento, California. Annual address and 
report on physics, &c, of Sacramento Eiver, by Thomas M. Logan, M. D., president, 
October 20, 1873. 


United States are equally adapted for the production and growth of this 

On the Atlantic slope, there are few if any rivers as turbid as the Sac- 
ramento ; few which have not spring sources in the Appalachian range, 
and among their tributaries many rapids, pools, and eddies, in rocky and 
gravelly places, suitable for spawning-grounds. Of the rivers of the 
Gulf States, the Chattahoochee and the Alabama have their sources in 
the southern slopes of the Blue Eidge, among cool, spring-fed brooks. 
They rise among hills and rocks in a country full of large springs. The 
Brazos and Colorado Kivers, of Ttxas, have their sources among the 
springs of the southern hills and spurs of the Kocky Mountains, and the 
Guadalupe and San Antonio Rivers are fed by large springs. Most of 
the Texas streams are turbid, but not more so than the Sacramento or 
San Joaquin. 

The suggestion that the salmon are not likely to find suitably cold 
waters after descending to the sea, the following facts show to be 

The temperatures of the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico have been 
recorded* through a series of lines extending from the longitude of 
the mouth of the Mississippi to the Tortugas and Key West, Fla., and 
temperatures found equally as cold as those off the coast of Massachu- 
setts and New England. As low as 34° Fahrenheit has been observed 
at a depth of 896 fathoms ; at depths of 421, 610, and 790 fathoms, 35° 
and 36° were observed, while 40°, 41°, and 42° were common at from 400 
to over 1,800 fathoms, and 50° to 60° between less than 100 to 400 
fathoms and more. 

The only peculiarity especially notable in the streams to which the 
California salmon belong is that they are snow-fed during most of the 
year. As, however, the Maiue salmon, a species much more sensitive 
to heat than that of California, inhabits rivers not suow-fed, and more- 
over is kept in the Bucksport breeding-pond throughout the entire sum- 
mer at a temperature of 70°, we have a sufficient guarantee that the 
California fish will not be affected in its transfer ; indeed, the whole 
question is one relating to the rapidity of development of the eggs, rather 
than to the conditions surrounding the fish ; the warmer the water the 
more rapid and premature the birth of the embryo. 

Thus far we have left entirely out of consideration the great system 
of waters contributing to the Mississippi River. The main stream ex- 
tends from latitude 47° 50' to 29°, and the northernmost tributary of 
the Missouri as far north as 50°. Its greatest length is 2,616 miles,t 
from its highest source to the Gulf. From the source of the Madison 
Fork, the formerly-supposed head of the Missouri, (within the National 
Yellowstone Park,) to the Gulf, it has a length of 4,194 miles.t 

* Coast Survey reports. 

t See measurements iu tables on page 91 of the Physics and Hydraulics of the Missio- 
sippi Eiver. United States Engineer Bureau. 


The Mississippi River, with its tributaries and subtributaries, as laid 
down on the larger maps of the United States, exhibits over 120,000 
miles of combiued lengths,* which we know falls much within the extent 
of waters available for food-fishes ; and, were the system of the Chinese 
adopted, all waters would be considered down to the brooks, ponds, and 
even ditches. 

From this an idea may be formed of the vast work to be done in mak- 
ing the waters of the United States afford their proper quota of the food- 
resources of the future. 

The physical conditions of the Mississippi Eiver in contrast with the 
rivers of the Atlantic coast which contain or have contained the Atlan- 
lic salmon (Salmo salar) are very marked. Such streams as the Saint 
John of New Brunswick, the Penobscot, the Kennebec, and the Andros- 
coggin of Maine, the Merrimac of New Hampshire, and the Connecticut 
of Western New England are, for their greater lengths, clear and with 
rocky bottoms, with considerable fall, and with sources, in the longest, 
not more than 500 miles from the sea. 

The Lower Mississippi is a turbid, alluvial stream, with a fall of less 
than 5 inches to the mile for eighteen hundred miles from the Gulf. The 
nearest source, having an elevation of 3,000 feet, is near the head of the 
Eed Eiver, about 1,500 miles from the delta. Fort Atkinson, Kansas, on 
the Arkansas Eiver, has an elevation of 2,331 feet, 1,750 miles from the 
mouth of the Mississippi Eiver. 

The remoteness of the elevated cold sources of the Mississippi seem? 
to be its most unfavorable feature when viewed as to tho adaptation 
of salmon to its waters. The California salmon traverse the Sac- 
ramento Valley to the headwaters of the Little Sacramento and the 
McCloud Eivers, about four hundred miles, to the headwaters of the 
San Joaquin, about two hundred and fifty miles. To Fort Boise, on the 
Snake Eiver, where the Salmo quinnat are said to have been taken from 
the mouth of the Columbia Eiver, is about seven hundred miles. There 
is no hindrance to their ascent to the vicinity of the Shoshoue Falls, one 
hundred and fifty miles above Fort Boise, which would increase the 
distance from the Pacific Ocean to about eight hundred and fifty miles. 
The great Shoshone Falls of the Snake Eiver, over two hundred feet 
high, are of course an effectual barrief to their progress up the stream. 

In the report of the commissioners of Iowa,t a correspondent writing 
from Elko, Nev., says: "This stream is one of the many that form the 
headwaters of the Columbia Eiver, and to this point, eighteen hundred 
miles from its mouth, the salt-water salmon come in myriads to spawn." 

* A rough approximation made by running a chartorneter on the Land-Office map, 
and correcting the error by comparison of lengths of seventeen rivers given in the 
work just referred to. 

t First Report of the State Fish Commissioners of Iowa for the yeazs 1874 and 1875. 
Des Moines : R. P. Clarkson, State Printer, L876, p. 17 


The large King salmon, or cbowichee,* and the Eed salmon, hoikoh,t 
are, according to Mr. Dall, taken as far up the Yukon River as Fort 
Yukon, fourteen hundred miles from the sea. 

The shad of China, samlai (Alosa reevesii, Rich.,) according to Mr. Salter, 
extend their migrations up the Yaug-tse-kiang for over a thousand 
miles; and, according to Dr. MacGowan, to a distance of three thou- 
sand miles from its mouth. 

A specimen of a shad (Alosa sapidissima) was received at the National 
Museum from Mr. R. O. Sweeney, which was taken in the Mississippi 
River at Saint Paul, Minn. 

From these facts we may infer that the instinct of location is probably 
sufficient to attract a colony of fishes as far inland as the headwaters of 
the longest river, whenever their home has been once established there. 

The vigorous strength and the energy exhibited by the California 
salmon during its migrations up the Sacramento and Columbia Rivers, 
afford the evidence that its capacity for a long migration from the sea to 
its spawning-grounds, is unsurpassed by any species of fish known. 

Wherever the California salmon, in the process of artificial propaga- 
tion, has come under the hands of the fish-culturist, it is acknowledged, 
as previously mentioned, to exceed all other species, which are propa- 
gated, in hardiness, in tenacity of life, and in freedom from tendency 
to disease. Although it will not compare with the catfishes (Siluridce) 
or the eels (Anguillidce,) or even the suckers (Catastomldce,) in retain- 
ing life out of water, yet, unlike these, it does not owe its tenacity of life 
to a low, sluggish action of the vital forces, that retain life when the 
respiration has become almost entirely impeded, but rather to the posses- 
sion of an excess of vitality, and which exhibits itself in all stages from 
the egg to the mature fish. Mr. Charles Nordhoff, in an article on The 
Columbia River and Puget Sound, in Harper's New Monthly Magazine,! 
in describing the processes at the canneries, says : u A salmon 
bleeds like a bull." Professor Agassiz thought he found evidence in 
the structure of the salmon family that indicated " the highest rank 
in the class of fishes,"§ and refers with enthusiasm "to their admirable 
structure" and great vigor.|| In addition, we have the testimony of 
Seth Green and other fish-'culturists, that the eggs and young fishes are 
hardy and enduring, the latter great feeders and very rapid growers. 
In the ponds of different fish-culturists in the country, it is com- 
mon to see a school of several thousand California salmon a year 
old or more, which are said to have suffered no loss whatever in 

* Oncorhynchus orientalis, Pall. (English) King salmon; (Russian) Chowichee; Na- 
tive K'hah. Alaska and its Resources. By William H. Dall, director of the scientific 
corps of the late Western Union Telegraph Expedition. Boston : Lee & Shepard, 
1870, p. 579. 

t Oncorhynchus proteus, Pall. (English) salmon ; (Russian) hoikoh. Op. cit. 

t No. 285, February, 1874, p. 341. f 

§ Lake Superior. Boston : 1850, p. 25. 

U Op. cit., pp. 327, 328. 


numbers since they were placed in the pond. In the report of the 
commissioners of fisheries of the State of New York for the year 
1874-'75, it is said of the California salmon: " These fish will endure 
a much higher temperature of water, spawn at a different season, 
are less exacting in the circumstances necessary to their well- 
being." In view of these facts, as to their habits, endurance, and 
general vigor and energy, have we not a right to hope for ultimate suc- 
cess in stocking the Mississippi and other eastern rivers with this val- 
uable species ? 

The stocking of a large number of rivers of the United States 
with this food -fish to as great an extent as the Sacramento River 
or even the San Joaquin, is an enterprise well worthy great effort 
and much pecuniary outlay, and its successful achievement will prove 
a blessing to the poorer classes of the country as well as another 
evidence of the value of science in its application to the economic indus- 
tries. If, however, our anticipations are only partially realized in a 
moderate proportion to what we now have in the California and Oregon 
rivers, the labor and cost of the experiment will not have been in vain, 
and coming generations will have cause to thank the liberality and 
statesmanship of our present law-givers, 


During the seasons of 1873-'74 and 1874->75 the collection of eggs of 
Penobscot salmon has been conducted at Bucksport, by Mr. C. G. Atkins, 
in the same manner as described in the report for 1872->73. 

The fixtures and apparatus employed have undergone considerable 
enlargement and amendment, but the essential features of the system 
remain the same as at first adopted. The salmon are caught in early 
summer in pounds in the Penobscot River, carried alive to a small fresh- 
water pond, and kept there until the breeding-season, when they are 
caught again and manipulated. 

During the first season the salmon had the range of a pond of 60 
acres, and a large number escaped recapture at the spawning-season. 
They have since been confined in an inclosure of about 10 acres, and 
each year the inclosing banier has been made more secure. In 1873 
and 1874 it was a strong net, and in spite of all exertions a number of 
salmon each year escaped. In 1875 a fence composed of wooden racks 
was substituted for the net, and proved an effectual means of confining 
the salmon. 

The means of catching the fish in the fall have been improved by 
the introduction of additional pounds, nets, and other apparatus, so that 
the waste of eggs by the fish laying them before they can be caught and 
manipulated is reduced to a very small amount. 

In the hatching-house since the first season the troughs have been 
reduced to a uniform length of about 23 feet, and fitted with covers. 

The use of tin boxes for packing eggs for transportation has been 
mostly abandoned on account of its expense. Wooden trays, 3 inches 


deep and from 1 to 2 feet in length and breadth, are now employed, 
and make at once the most compact, convenient, and economical 
package with which I am acquainted. The eggs are placed in these 
trays in layers, alternating with layers of moss, from which they are 
separated by pieces of thin fabric. When filled and put together in 
stacks, the trays are encased in sawdust, which protects from freezing 
during long winter journeys. In packages of 50,000 to 100,000 they 
occupy about one cubic foot for 5,000 or 10,000 eggs. 

The number of breeding-salmon bought and manipulated, their size, 
the number of eggs obtained and distributed, and the number of young 
salmon set free are exhibited by the following table : 

Salmon bougbt. 

Salmon recaptured at spawning 



set tree. 







CD . 

® . 










12. 28 
12. 73 

32. 24 

2, 453, 638 

3, 008, 356 

2, 292, 675 
2, 744, 877 

2, 065, 445 
1, 686, 608 






5, 461, 994 

5, 037, 552 


The ratio of impregnation has been about 95 per cent. 

Complete success has attended the incubation of the eggs, except in 
the season of 1874~'75, when the eggs w^re all, or nearly all, affected by 
a deficiency of strength in the outer shell. An average success was had 
with those eggs that remained that season in the hatching-house at 
Bucksport to hatch for the State of Maine ; but of those that were 
packed for transportation large numbers were lost en route, or so greatly 
injured that they died before hatching, or soon after. Mr. Atkins attrib- 
uted this phenomenon to causes existing in the state of the water of the 
pond and hatching-house, which remained, through prevalence of warm, 
dry weather, in a low, foul state through the greater part of the spawn- 
ing season. In 1873-'74 the water was renewed by copious rains, and 
the eggs throughout incubation were in perfect health. 

In 1872 and 1873, and again in 1875, all the fish handled at the 
spawning season were marked with metal tags and dismissed to the 
river. The mode of tagging in 1872 was by affixing a stamped alu- 
minum tag to a rubber band passing around the tail. This was a de- 
fective mode, and no results were obtained from it. In 1873 the alumi- 
num tags were attached directly by a platinum wire to the rear margin 
of the first dorsal fin. A reward was offered in the following spring for 
the return of the marked salmon, and about twenty of them were sent 
in, nearly all caught in the river, and more than half of them above 
Bangor, 25 miles further up the river than Bucksport, where they were 
set at liberty, showing that instinct did not impel these liberated fish to 
return at once to their marine feeding-grounds. They were all poorer 
than when set free in the fall. In 1874 the marking was omitted, but 


the offered reward was renewed in the spring of 1875, and resulted in the 
return of seven or eight of the marked salmon of 1873, now in prime 
order, weighing from 16J to 24J pounds. Unfortunately the aluminum 
tag had fallen off, and we could not trace the individual salmon, but 
the wire remained to attest the date of their liberation and return. The 
salmon set free in autumn of 1873 in poor condition returned in good 
condition in 1875, and not before. Probably a much larger number of 
these salmon were caught that were never reported, for the wire was fine 
and not easily seen 5 indeed, two marked salmon were placed in the 
pond without discovering the mark till the spawning season. 

The experiment has been renewed in 1875, with a change in the 
material, platinum being substituted for aluminum in the tag. 


The white-fish (Coregonus albus, Les.,) of the Great Lakes is a fine table- 
fish, and as it is produced in considerable numbers in favorable waters^ 
some attention has been given to its propagation. In 1872, arrange- 
ments were made with Mr. JS". W. Clark, of Olarkston, Mich., to hatch a 
half million of eggs of this fish. About the middle of February, 216,000 
were shipped to San Francisco, Cal., but being left to the care of the 
express messenger, beyond Omaha, Nebr., they suffered from the changes 
of temperature incident to a car with a fire in it, and arrived in very 
bad condition. On March 10, # another shipment of 116,000 was made, 
which arrived in good order. In 1873, 25,000 more were transmitted 
and hatched, and the young fish placed in the waters of Clear Lake, from 
which partly grown ones were afterward taken. In 1874 an additional 
20,000 were sent by Mr. K W. Clark, late of Northville, Mich., which 
were hatched at Berkeley, Cal., and put into Tulare Lake. On March 
8, 1875, there were shipped to San Francisco, Cal., 100,000. and March 
23, 100,000 were sent to the Lakes in the Indian Reservation at Keshena, 
Wis. The States bordering on the Lakes and Canada have now begun 
the propagation of this species, by which means they intend to keep up 
the stock of the Great Lakes. 


After considerable inquiry and investigation we are disposed to be- 
lieve that there are varieties of the European carp of superior value, 
because of their table qualities, and that the idea entertained by many 
that the carp is a very inferior food-fish has arisen from the testimony 
of those who have been so unfortunate as to have eaten only those of 
inferior quality. 

Admitting its value as a table-fish, or even that it is of average excel- 
lence, it should be considered a desirable acquisition to the waters of 
the United States, for it has other characteristics which render it val- 
uable, and which are not known to be possessed by any American 
species, among which are its fecundity and adaptibility to the most 


varied waters, from deep cool lakes and rapid streams to the merest 
puddles and ditches,* and to latitudes from St. Petersburg, Russia, to 

Its diet is also varied ; unlike the great proportion of American food- 
fishes it can be sustained on vegetable matter, being expecially fond of 
water-cresses and similar succulent plants ; it also devours worms and 
insect-larvsB voraciously. Heckel speaks of its fondness for sheep-dung, 
and of its becoming fat upon it. It has proved to be admirably well 
adapted to the processes of artificial culture, and throughout Europe 
the species has been kept in a semi-domesticated condition from time 
immemorial in a very large number of hatching-ponds. It becomes 
very tame after a time, and may be taught to eat from the hand, to 
come to the side of the pond the culturist desires, and to follow him 
along its edge. 

Heckel and Kner J speaking of it, remark that its capability of rapid 
propagation, its tough constitution, and excellent table qualities have 
induced its abundant cultivation from a very early time. It is believed 
to have been introduced intoEuropefrom temperate Asia, and has spread 
from the Danube over the whole of Middle and part of Southern Europe. 
It is said to attain to an average of from five to ten pounds and even 
more, according to the waters inhabited, while Dr. Rudolph Hessel states 
that in Lower Hungary he had seen specimens weighing thirty and forty 
pounds. The species is of rapid growth, and, under favorable circum- 
stances, may be made to attain a weight of three or four pounds in three 
years. § 

In its domesticated condition the carp has developed very many va- 
rieties, some of which are improvements in quality over the original 
type, while the contrary is true of others. These different forms falling 
into their hands, naturalists have been led to name them as different 
species, and later students in studying the carp in its numerous forms 

* In Couch's British Fishes a quotation is made from Sir Roger North, as follows : 

" Carp are sometimes fed, during the colder season, in a cellar. The fish is wrapped 
up in a quantity of wet moss, laid on a piece of net, and then laid into a purse, but in 
such manner, however, as to admit of the fish breathing; the net is then plunged into 
water and hung to the ceiling of the cellar. The dipping must be first repeated every 
three or four hours, but afterward it need be plunged into the water only once in six 
or seven hours. Bread soaked in milk is sometimes given him in small quantities ; in 
a short time the fish will bear more and grow fat by this treatment. Many have been 
kept alive, breathing nothing but air, in this way several successive days." 

A History of the Fishes of the British Islands, by Jonathan Couch, F. L. S., vol. iv, 
containing seventy-three colored plates, from drawings by the author. (London : 
Groombridge & Sons, 5 Paternoster Row. 1845. Carp, p. 4.) 

t In winter they are said to bury themselves in the mud in large bodies, and to re- 
main in a somewhat torpid condition and without food, but losing little or nothing in 
flesh, until the following spring. 

t Die Siisswasserfische der Sstreichischen Monarchie mit Riicksicht auf die angran- 
genden Lander bearbeitet von Jakob Heckel * * und Dr. Rudolph Kner * * * 
Leipzig, Verlag von Wilhelm Engelmann, 1858, p. 57. 

§Aigner, quoted by Heckel and Kner. 

f— in 


have been obliged to gather long lists of synonyms, each applying to 
one or more of the varieties. Gunther's list of synonyms embraces 
thirty-one binomial names, and several common names. Beginning with 
the Ko-pTvoq of Aristotle, his volume includes new ones to nearly the 
date of its publication.* He finds the names applied to the normal 
type, to u varieties of the integuments," to " varieties of form/' to 
" monstrosities," to the " eastern [Asiatic] specimens," and to a " variety 
with the fins much prolonged." His material for study included Euro- 
pean specimens from different parts of England, Holland, Hungary, 
Switzerland, and Russia, and Asiatic specimens from China, Formosa, 
Japan, and Java, all which varieties he refers to the one species, Cypri- 
nus carpio L. 

Another species, the Crucian carp (Carassius vulgaris (Nilss.) I^ord.) 
is found in temperate Asia and Europe. This, too, has been domesti- 
cated and has developed varieties principally in the particular of form. 
An extensive list of names pertains to this species, also. The testimony 
of writers agrees rather uniformly that the Crucian carp is inferior in 
flavor to the common carp j still, it is cultivated in portions of Europe- 
Its present distribution appears to extend farther north than the com- 
mon carp, as it is taken in Norway and Siberia. A variety is also found 
as far south as Sicily. 

To add to the confusion into which the existence of so many variable 
forms has placed the qaestion of species, it is known that two or more 
hybrids exist between the Cyprinus carpio and other species. The best 
known one is that which was identified by Heckel as Cyprinus Kollarii, 
now believed to be a cross between Cyprinus carpio and Cyprinus caras- 
sius L. ; it is said to be found wherever the two species are kept under 
domestication. This hybrid is considered to be inferior to the common 
carp. Another one is the cross between C. carpio L. and Carassius 
auratus (L.) Bleeker, which is thought superior to the latter, though 
much cannot be said in its favor. In a letter received from Dr. O. 
Finseh, still another hybrid is referred to between C. carpio L. and 
Cyprinus brama L. 

Among all these variations of form and external characters, differing 
as they do in proportions of body, in the size of the scales, in the,partial 
or complete absence of scales, in the form of the fins, and in the combi- 
nations of the characters of two species in a hybrid, there is also a varia- 
tion in their edible qualities, in their prolificness, some forms being en- 
tirely sterile, and popularly believed to be neuter in gender, and also 
in their hardiness and adaptability to more or less unfavorable waters. 

In referring to the sterile carps, Siebold remarks that many are found 
in which ovaries or sperm aries are never fully developed. In some they 
are so little developed that the generative organs are found only with the 

* Catalogue of the Fishes in the British Museum, by Albert Giintlier, M. A., M. D., 
Ph. D., F. R. S., F. Z. S., etc., etc. Volume seventh, London : Printed by order of the 

trustees, 18G8. 


greatest difficulty, and they are considered by many as asexual. The 
sterile carp is mentioned by Aristotle. They are generally well known 
and can be distinguished by those accustomed to handle them. In 
France the sterile form is the Carp Br£haigne and Carpeau. De La- 
tourette states that the sterile carp has shorter and thicker lips, and that 
the belly in the vicinity of the anus is thin and shrunken.* The better 
varieties seem to be the Spiegel- karpfen, mirror carp (Cyprinus specularis 
Lacep),' (Cyprinus rex-cyprinorum (Bloeh), Ouv.,) and the naked carp 
(Cyprinus nudus Bloch) or (Cyprinus alepidotus Ag.) and the sterile ones. 
It is claimed by certain English writers that by a process of spaying or 
castration, which can be performed on the carp, the flavor is much im- 

The artificial propagation of the carp has been carried on successfully 
in Europe for a number of years. Their annual deposit of eggs, how- 
ever, is so large in numbers that artificial impregnation is seldom neces- 
sary, though affording a larger percentage of increase over the natural. 
The spawning season in Middle Europe is May and June, though, accord- 
ing to Siebold, some spawn as late as August. The eggs are very adhe- 
sive, and in a state of nature are found sticking to the leaves of plants 
and the small twigs of brush which have fallen into or which grow 
under the water. The eggs are thought to develop best when only one 
or two inches from the surface, t The fish emerges from the egg after 
about twenty days, leaving the shell still attached to the plant or twig. 
The artificial method is to express the eggs on light frames of netting, 
or on baskets made by wattling a wooden frame with boughs, the milt be- 
ing scattered over them as they lie adherent to the nets and the leaves. 
The netting frames are placed vertically in a floating box, which, in a 
running stream, is afforded the necessary water circulation. The basket, 
when covered with the impregnated eggs, is treated in like manner. 
The boughs of the juniper (Juniperus) are said to be the best for making 
the baskets. The pairs of ripe fish may be put into the basket and left 
to themselves, a piece of netting being tied over the top to prevent 
their escape. After the eggs have been deposited the fishes should be 

Among the localities in Europe where, it is stated, they are bred, the 
following are referred to, with, in some cases, the name of the proprietor 
or superintendent of the ponds : 

" The naked carp (C. nudus Bloch) is chiefly raised in North Germany; 
the mirror carp (C. rex cyprinorum (Bloch) Ouv.) in South Germany; the 
scaled genuine carp in North Germany (Mecklenburg, Holsteiu, &c), 
in Bohemia and Silesia -^ fide Dr. O. Fiusch. Casel, mirror carp, Mr, 
Lewiu Fischhof; Geirsdorf, Silesia scaled carp ; Wittengen, Hanover, 
Mr. Link j Hameln, Fisher in eister Schieber; Liebbincheu, Brandenburg; 

•See Die Susswasserfiscke von Mittel-Europa^ bearbeitet Von C. Th. E. v. Siebold. 
Leipzig, Verlag von Wilhelm Engelniann, 1863. 
t Report 1872-'73, p. 508. 


Drobriluyk, Brandenburgh, Traugott Mende; Wittengen, Bohemia, 
Prince Schwarzenburg ; Biddahausen, near Brunswick, naked carp, 
Prince of Schonnburg-Lippe ; Wiesbaden, common carp, mirror carp, 
and gold-orfe, nassauische Fisherei, Actiengesellschaft ; Niirnburg, mirror 
carp j Guuzenhausen, mirror carp; Lusatia, estate of Cottbus Peitz; 
Upper Silesia, Baron Rothschild ; Brickaberg, naked carp; Heesen, Mr. 
Bodeman ; Hochst,* near Frankfort, mirror carp, scaled carp, and gold- 
orfe; Oldenburg, hybrid, G. Kollarii Heck., Mr. Wagner. 

This list might be multiplied many times. 

The present distribution of the carp (Gyprinus carpio L.) in Europe 
may be given as throughout the middle latitudes of Europe, extending 
northward to Northern Germany and southward into Italy. The G. 
carassius L. has a more northern range into Siberia and Norway, while 
the variety G. humilis is found in Sicily. 

The special advantage to be gained by the possession of the carp is in 
its general adaptability to all waters, and that it thrives under conditions 
unfavorable to many species. According to Heckel and Kner, it prefers 
water not too rapid and a boggy bottom. 

As a fish for propagation in ponds and other sluggish waters both south 
and north, it is believed the carp will excel all others. In Northern 
Silesia, according to Mr. Yon dem Borne,t on the estate of Baron von 
Eothschild, puddles two or three feet deep in the villages are used for 
raising two-year-old carps for stocking distant waters. From this re- 
source, a single estate realized what would amount to about $55 per 
American acre of pond-surface. 

The following is a recapitulation of the good qualities of the carp : 

1. Fecundity and adaptability to the processes of artificial propaga- 

2.* Living largely on a vegetable diet. 

3. Hardiness in all stages of growth. 

4. Adaptability to conditions unfavorable to any equally palatable 
American fish and to very varied climates. 

5. Rapid growth. 

6. Harmlessness in its relations to other fishes. 

7. Ability to populate waters to their greatest extent. 

8. Good table qualities. 

The food-fish indigenous to the United States, which has been the 
most widely distributed in the smaller ponds and lakes, is the large- 
mouthed black bass (Micropteras nigricans (Cuv.) Lacep.) This fish is 
very carnivorous, preying upon almost all species in the same waters. 
Even the pickerel is said to decrease rapidly when in contact with it. 
The necessity for fish-food is always a bar to a great increase of numbers 
among fishes, especially in small bodies of water. Species which feed 

* Carp in ponds at Baltimore, Mel., obtained here by United States Commission 
t Circular No. 1, 1876, of the Deutsche Fisherei-Verein, see translation in appendix. 


upon invertebrate and vegetable forms fill out the possible quota of the 
waters with their own kind, while the carnivorous species require that 
a large, generally the larger, proportion of the inferior species upon which 
they feed inhabit the waters with them. An instance of the ability of 
the carp to stock waters to their utmost occurred at Heidelberg, Ger- 
many, where male pikes (JEJsox Indus L.) were introduced for the purpose 
of reducing their numbers. 


During the winter of 1872-'73, Mr. Livingston Stone was employed 
in an investigation of the fisheries of the Sacramento Eiver and some 
of the inland lakes of California. In the spring of 1873, he came East 
to prepare for a return to California with an aquarium-car loaded with 
fishes for both the inland waters and sea-coast of California — an enter- 
prise partly under the auspices of the State commissioners of California. 
This car, originally built for the transportation of fruit, was furnished 
by the Central Pacific Eailroad Company. It was fitted up with the 
necessary tanks, ice-chests, and beds for attendants 5 the supply-reser- 
voir was arranged so as to receive water from the spouts of the rail- 
road tanks. 

The stock of fishes and invertebrates taken on board consisted of 
60 black bass (Micropterus salmoides); 11 wall-eyed pike (Stizostedium 
Americanus) ; 190 yellow perch (Perca flave'scens) j 12 bullheads 
(Amiurus catus) ; 110 cat-fish from Earitan Eiver, Amiurus albidus f) ; 
20 tautogs (Tautoga Americana)] 41,500 eels (Anguilla bostoniensis) ; 
1,000 trout (Salmo fontinalis) 5 20,000 shad ( Alosa sapidissima) ; 162 
lobsters (Homarus vulgaris) j and one barrel of oysters from Massachu- 
setts Bay (Ostrea mrginica.) The start was made from Charlestown, 
N. H., June 3, and everything resulted favorably until the 8th of June, 
when, by the giving way of the trestle-work of a bridge at the Elkhorn 
Eiver, Nebr., the aquarium-car was precipitated into the river, the car 
was partially up-ended, and the tanks thrown into confusion. As the 
lids were floated oif from the tanks, it is probable that most of the 
fishes escaped into the river. Many of the species, however, were well 
adapted to the waters of the river, but of course not the tautogs, lob- 
sters, or oysters. 

In the year following, Mr. Stone left Charlestown, N. H., on June 4, 
1874, under the auspices of the commissioner of fisheries of California. 
He arrived at the Sacramento on the 12th of June, and at San Fran- 
cisco the same day. A tabulated list of the results of this expedition 
will be found in the appendix. 



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REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER. (Table of contents precedes report) I 



I. Historical observations on the condition of the fisheries among the ancient Greeks 

and Romans and their mode of salting and pickling fish. By J. K. Smidth 3 

Introduction 3 

Classified groups of fishes 8 

Caring processes 14 

Lobsters 17 

Fish, oyster, and snail ponds 18 

n. Statistics of the most important fisheries of the North Atlantic. By Carl Dam- 
beck 21 

1. Norway 21 

2. Sweden 21 

3. Denmark 22 

4. Germany 22 

5. Great Britain and Ireland ^ 23 

6. France 24 

7. North America 24 

HE. On the fisheries of Norway 25 

TV. Statistical data regarding the Swedish fisheries 31 

' V- Account of the fisheries and seal-hunting in the White Sea, the Arctic Ocean, and 

the Caspian Sea. By Alexander Schultz 35 

A. The fisheries of the White Sea and thePetshora 36 

1. The herring 37 

2. Thesalmon 40 

3. The navaga (Oadus navaga) and other salt- water fish 43 

4. River and lake fish 44 

B. Fisheries in the Arctic Ocean 44 

1. Fisheries on theMonrman coast 44 

2. Fisheries at Novaya-Zemlya . 52 

C Fishing and seal-hunting in the Caspian Sea 58 

1. Fish found in the Caspian Sea 58 

2. Spawning-season of the fish in the Caspian Sea 61 

3. Wealth of fish in the Caspian Sea 62 

4. Estimated value of the fisheries in tbe Caspian Sea 63 

5. Fishing-basins of the Caspian Sea 64 

6. Fishing-implements 72 

7. Importanceof a vataga (fishing-establishment). 80 

8. Preparing the fish audits several parts 82 

9. Market-price of fish and their products 90 

10. Price of fish as fixed by agreement between the fisherman and the fishing-houses 91 

11. Seal-hunting 92 

12. Manufacture of seal-oil 95 

VI. The Norwegian herring-fisheries. By A. I. Boeck and A. Feddersen 97 

VLI. Preliminary report for 1873-'74 on the herring and the herring-fishehhss on the 

west coast of Sweden. By Axel Vilhelm Ljungman 123 

1. On different species of herring and small-herring 125 

The spring-herring (Olupea majalis) 128 

The sea-herring (hafslottsill) 130 

The wandering-herring (Straksillen) 131 

Herring-spawning in autumn 133 

The large herring, or the so-called (gamla) herring, (Olupea bohusica, Nilss) 133 

2. Of the propagation and growth of the herring and small-herring 143 

3. Of the herring's and small-herring's mode of life; its migrations, and the dependence of 

these latter on meteorologic and hydrographic circumstances 147 

4. Of the herring-fiBheries and their time and place „....,...-.. 150 


APPENDIX A- Continued. Page. 

VII. On the herring and herring-fisheries on the west coast of Sweden— Continued. 

5. The smal. herring fisheries, their time and place 152 

6. Of fishing implements, the manner in which they are used, and other matters connected 

therewith 154 

7. Scientific ol nervations and scientific as well as practical experiments necessary for con- 

tinuing the. nvestigation sand bringing them to a satisfactory end 165 

8. Of the immediate continuation of the investigations and the sums required for this 

purpose 187 

VITI. The halibut-fisheries of the United States. By Lieut. P. de Broca 109 

IX. The fishing-villages, Snekkersteen and Skotterup, and the collection of fishing- 

implements exhibited by them at Elsinore, Denmark, during the summer of 1872.. 173 

X. On the herring, and its preparation as an article of trade. By Hjalmar Widegren .. 183 

Introduction 183 

1. Preparation of common Baltic herring for consumption in Sweden and in the German 

ports of the Baltic 189 

2. Preparation of extra-fine herring for home consumption 192 

3. Preparation of spiced herring (Kryddsill) 193 

XI. New CONTRD3UTIONS to the herring-question. The dispute between Axel Boeck and 

O-sian Sars regarding the Norwegian summer-herring. Sars's recent observa- 


XIII. The Norwegian lobster-fishery, and its history. By Axel Boeck 223 

Introduction 223 

Implements for catching the lobsters, methods of catching them, and the manner of ehip- 

ping them .". 228 

The lobster-trade and the history of its legislation 232 

Draught of a law regarding the protection of lobsters 253 

XIV. Transportation of lobsters to Californlv 258 


XVI. On the oyster- industries of the United States. By Lieut. P. de Broca 271 

Letter to the minister of marine and colonial aifairs , 271 

Chapter first— 

Introduction 277 

Chapter second — 

Oysters of the United States „.. 286 

Mode of obtaining the oysters 292 

Culture of oysters . 296 

Lpws concerning oyster-plantations 209 

Chaptor third— 

The oyster-business in several cities of the United States 302 

' Chapter fourth — 

General views upon the natural history of the market-clams 313 

Recommendations for introduction . . 318 



A. Operations in the distribution of the shad in 1874. By James W. Mil ner 323 

Distribution from Coeyraans, N. V 323 

Distribution from South Hadley Falls, Mass 323 

Tableof distribution, 1874 326 

B. Report on shad-hatching in New Jersey. By G. A. Anderson 327 

C. Voyage to Bremerhaven, Germany, with shad. By Fred Mather 328 

D. Living shad on their way to "Wescr. Translated by H. Jacobsen 330 

E. Shad hatching and distributing operations of 1875 3.15 

1. The Neuse River station 335 

2. The Pamunkey River station 336 

3. The Potomac River stations 336 

4. The distribution of shad from the Hudson River 337 

5. The Connecticut River station 337 

6. Experiments with a view to transporting shad to Germany 338 

7. The trip to Germany 339 

Tables of shad-hatching operations 340 

XVin. Report of the Triana ted?. By J."W. Milner... 351 

XIX. On the transportation of snAD for long distances 363 

A. Experiments with a view to transporting shad in sea- water. By Jamea W. Milner 363 

B. Experiments with a view to transporting shad a few months' old. By Charles D. Griswold 370 


APPENDIX B -Continued. Page. 

XIX. On the transportation of shad for long distances— Continued. 

C. Apparatus for hatching shad-ova while en route to new waters. By Fred Mather 372 

XX. Report of operations in California in 1873. By Livingston Stone 31 7 

A. Clear Lake" 377 

1. Field-work in the winter of 1873-'73 377 

2. Charaoterof Clear Lake 377 

3. List of fishes inhabiting the lake 378 

4. The condition of the fish in Clear Lake at different seasons 380 

B. Sacramento River 382 

1. Character of fishing on the Sacramento 382 

C. California aquarium-car 385 

D. Overland journey with live shad 390 

1. Preparation for the trip 390 

2. The start 390 

3. The apparatus 391 

4. Thecareof the fish 391 

5. Journal of the trip 395 

6. Experiments to ascertain the character of the water 400 

7. Stations affording supplies of water 401 

8. Temperature of the water in the cans 401 

9. Conclusion 401 

E. McCloud River station '. 402 

1. Catching the parent salmon 403 

2. Confining the salmon 405 

3. The Indian sentiment in regard to catching the salmon 408 

4. Spawning the fish 410 

5. The hatching-apparatus 411 

6. Hatching the eggs 415 

7. Packing and shipping the eggs 419 

8. The method of packing discussed 420 

9. Cost of the eggs 420 

10. Journal of overland trip with salmon-eggs 421 

11. Distribution of salmon-eggs 423 

F. Catalogue of collections sent to the Smithsonian Institution in 1873 424 

G. A list of McCloud Indian words, supplementary to a list contained in the report of 

1872. By Livingston Stone 428 

XXI. Hatching and distribution of California salmon 43i 

A. Report on California salmon -spawn hatched and distributed. By J. H. Slack, M. D 431 

B. Hatching and distribution of California salmon in tributaries of Great Salt Lake. By A. 

P.Rockwood 434 

XXII. Report of operations during 1874 at the United States salmon-hatching estab- 
lishment on the McCloud River, Cal. By Livingston Stone 437 

Introduction 437 

Table of consignment of salmon-eggs according to order of shipments 441 

Cost of the eggs 443 

Camp-buildings. &c 443 

The hatching-apparatus 444 

The fish and the fishing 445 

The taking and ripening of the eggs 447 

Packing the eggs 448 

The overland journey of the eggs 44& 

Life in camp 459 

Our neighbors 466 

Game 468 

Extracts from journal ..„ 468 

Tables of temperature 471 

Catalogue of collections sent to Smithsonian Institution, contributed in 1874 474 

Second California aquarium-car 477 

XXIII. Correspondence relating to the San Joaquin River and its fishes 479 

XXIV. The Atlantic Salmon, (Salmosalar) 485 

A. Report on the collection and distribution of Penobscot salmon in 1873-'74 and 1874-'75. 

By C.G.Atkins 485 

1. Methods 485 

2. Purchase of breeding-salmon 486 

X Development and distribution 488 



APPENDIX B— Continued. Page. 

XXIV. The Atlantic salmon— Continued. 

4. Marking salmon for future identification 490 

5. Summaries 492 

Tables , 493 

B. The salmon of Lake Champlain and its tributaries. By W. C. "Watson 531 

1. Abundance of the salmon in earlytimes 531 

2. The disappearance of tho salmon, and its causes 534 

3. Traits of the salmon 538 

4. The Au Sable River 539 



XXV. Notes on pisciculture in Kjangsi. ByH.Kopsch 543 


A. On carp-ponds 549 

B. Carp-culture in East Prussia. ByR.Striivy 552 

C. Carp-ponds 555 

XXVII. The gold-orfe, (Cyvrinus orfus) 559 

A. On the raising of the gold-orfe, ( Cyprinus orfus. ) By M. Kirsch 559 

B. Correspondence relating to the gold-orfe. By Prof. C. Th. E. v. Siebold 561 

XXVIII. Directions for using tables for recording the propagation and distribution of 

FISH 563 


XXIX. Fisheries and fishery-laws in Austria and of the world in general. By Carl 
Peyrer 571 

A. General considerations 571 

1. Early protective measures 571 

2. Improved appreciation of the interest 572 

3. The object of fishery-legislation 573 

B. The fisheries 575 

4. Tho former condition of the Austrian fisheries 575 

5. The present condition of the fisheries audits causes 576 

6. Artificial fish-breeding 580 

7. Progress of foreign fisheries 585 

8. Condition of pisciculture in Austria 589 

9. Valuo of the products of the fisheries 598 

10. Fishery statistics 601 

11. Scientific investigations 603 

C. Important fresh-water fisheries 605 

12. Salmon family, (Salmonoidvi) 6C6 

13. The pike family, (Esocini) 613 

14. The catfish family, (Siluroidei) 613 

15. The cod family, (Gadoidei) 613 

16. The eels, (Murcenoidci) 614 

17. The carp family, (Cypriaoidei) 614 

18. The perch family, (Percoidei) 616 

19. The sturgeon family (Aeipenserini) 616 

20. The crawfish, (Astacus fiuviatilis) 617 

D. Protective legislation 618 

21. The fishing-privileges 618 

22. Foreign fishery -laws 619 

23. Fishing-privileges and fishing-laws in Austria 643 

24. The buying-off of fishing-privileges 665 

25. International fishery -treaties 6C9 

26. Salt-water fisheries and the laws relating to them 674 

E. Conclusion 677 

XXX. How can our lakes and rivers be again stocked with fish in the shortest possible 

time? By Mr. Von dem Borne 681 


XXXI. Preliminary report on a series of dredgings made on the United States Coast 
•Survey Steamer Bache in the Gulf of Maine. By A. S. Packard, jr. , M. D 687 

XXXII. List of the marine xlgm of the United States. By W. G. Farlow, M. D 691 

Class Algse 6yl 

List of the principal useful sea- weeds occurring on the United States const 716 

Used as food .716 

Used as fertilizers 716 


APPENDIX E— Continued. Pnge. 

XXXII. List of the marine alg^; of the United States— Continued. 

Used for the manufacture of iodine 717 

The great kelp of California 717 

Alphabetical index 718 

XXXIII. Lecture on the organs of reproduction and the fecundation of fishes and 
especially of eels. By Dr. Syrski 719 

Introduction 719 

The organs of reproduction and fecundation in fish in general 720 

The reproductive organs of the eel 725 

The ovaries of the eel 730 

The spermatic organs 732 

XXXIV. The food and mode of living of the salmon, the trout, and the shad. By D. 
Barfurth 735 

Prefatory note. By Theo. Gill 735 

Introduction 737 

1. The food of Trutta salar Siebold, (Salrno solar and hamaius Val.,) and Trutta trutta Sie* 
bold (Fario argenteus Val.) in the river Khine 738 

2. The food of Trutta fario 753 

3. The food of Alausa vulgaris while in the Rhine. 75? 

Conclusion « 4 «. 753. 






By J. K. Smidth.* 

If it is interesting to follow the great and rapid progress which pis- 
ciculture has made and is still making in our times, it is, on the other 
hand, of no small importance to go back through the ages and inquire 
into the position which this sister of agriculture held in antiquity, 
especially among those two great nations, the Greeks and Koinans 
concerning which we have the most accurate and ample information in 
the writings of their poets, historians, and scientists. Although this 
rich and almost perfect literature is known, at least in part, to many 
persons through the study of the classical texts themselves, and by 
means of more or less faithful translations of the same, but few, per- 
haps, are aware of the fact that a large portion of these writings treats 
of the life of the seas. They describe its inhabitants and their mode of 
living, and inform us that in those times fish were used as an article of 
food, or put to medicinal and other uses. It would be a great mistake 
to suppose that we would find a few obscure names only, as having dis- 
cussed this subject ; on the contrary, they begin with Homer, and are 
found throughout the entire wide range of classic literature. 

If any one should ask for the reason of this ardent attachment of the 
ancient writers for the sea aud everything connected with it, the best 
answer will be found in Buffon's Natural History of Fish, where this 
famous natural historian says : " Fruitfulness, beauty, and long life are 
essential characteristics of the inhabitants of the ocean." This is the 
reason why Greek mythology, which, so far as regards the ultimate cause 
of its imagery, was much better informed than we usually suppose, and 
which produced ideals of undying beauty, placed the cradle of the god- 
dess of love and beauty in the ocean, and represents her as springing 
from the foaming waves surrounded by her sacred fish, glittering with 
gold and azure. This allegory, as beautiful as it is instructive, is by no 
means astonishing, for we find that the ancient Greeks had observed the 

*Nogle historiske BemcBrkinngeromFiskeriernes Tilstand paa Graekernes og Komer- 
nes Tid samt om de dengang brugte Tilberedelsesmaader af saltet og marineret Fisk. 
Af J. K. Smidth. < Tidsskrift for Fiskeri. Udgivet af H. V. Fiedler, og Arthur Fedder- 
een.— 6te Aargang. Kj^benkavn. Jacob Erslevs Boghaudel. 1871. pp. 34-02. 


habits of fish more closely than those of any other animals. They were 
not only familiar with them, but they preferred them as food even to the 
choicest poultry. The modern Greeks inherited from them this love of 
the sea and its inhabitants, and still preserve it; while the Koinans* 
weighed down beneath the most cruel despotism, the most fearful im- 
morality, and the most insane luxury that ever disgraced a noble nation, 
still clung to their love for the inhabitants of the deep. It is by no 
means improbable that they inherited it from those ancient nations of 
the East, among whom these characteristic traits may still be observed.* 

The nearness of the coast, and the nature of the sea which surrounded 
their country as it did on almost every side, naturally inspired them 
with a love for ocean life ; and it may well be said, " that this circum- 
stance is more closely connected with the progress of civilization than 
is usually supposed. We find that it vanishes completely first in those 
unfortunate portions of Europe and Asia where barbaric hordes of wild 
huntsmen, issuing forth from their northern forests, succeeded by their 
numbers and fierceness in changing the customs and ideas of the con- 
quered nations." 

These words of Buffcn form the theme and starting-point for the fol- 
lowing observations, which are partly taken from ancient Greek and 
Eoman authors themselves; partly from more recent writers, such as 
Paul Jovius [Giovio], Aldrovaudi, Petrus Artedi, Gesner, Buff on, Sabin 
Berthelot, and partly from the very able writings of Noel de la Moriniere, 
of Eouen, on this subject. 

The archetypes of our modern fishing implements, the net and the line, 
have been known and used throughout the whole world from times im- 
memorial. In Homer we find the fisheries in a flourishing condition, 
and he frequently takes his similes from the art which, in all probability 
not only the twin-sister of agriculture, but together with hunting, consti- 
tuted the first mode of securing subsistence in the earliest days of the 
human race. In the Odyssey, e. #., Penelope's sighing lovers are com- 
pared to the fish gasping on the shore, where the fisherman's net has 
been emptied. Hesiod places on the shield of Hercules a fisherman on 
his lookout, ready to cast his net over some of the finny tribe which are 
pursued by a dolphin. 

The ancients knew as well as we that certain natural advantages, 
wisely managed, would open up new and remunerative lines of business. 
Hence, the Greeks developed their fisheries to such a degree as to enlist 
a large amount of physical and mental exertion, and they gradually 
became one of the most remunerative of occupations. Large salt- 

* During my stay in Paris, I had a long and interesting conversation with the 
Chinese minister, and was astonished to hear how far advanced the Chinese are in pis- 
ciculture, especially as regards the breeding and raising of fish. They also seem to 
have a great many fishing implements which are unknown to us. He finally assured 
me that M. Coste (the great French pisciculturist) himself might learn a good deal 
by traveling to China, an opinion which was strongly corroborated by his secretary, 
a Belgian. 


ing-houses were established in favorable places, round which soon 
rose a constantly increasing number of fishermen's huts. These again 
attracted artisans and merchants, so that the village soon grew to a 
city, of which the fisheries might be called the nucleus. Of such cities 
there was a large number, Byzantium and Sinope being illustrious ex- 
amples. It is well known that the wealth from fish gave to' the sea 
near the former city the name of the Golden Horn. " Proud and beau- 
tiful Venice" is of later date, but of similar origin.* Many private in- 
dividuals rapidly accumulated large fortunes by dealing in salt-fish, and 
the ancient writers of comedies frequently make such a trader (Keriphi- 
los by name) the object of their raillery. This man, it seems, had been 
honored with the Athenian citizenship, but his son, by a life of dissipa- 
tion, soon spent the fortune which his thrifty father had amassed. 

We are acquainted with about four huudred different names of fishes, 
which have been described by Greek authors. "This abundance of words," 
says Buffbn, " this wealth of exhaustive and accurate terms, presupposes 
the same abundance of ideas and knowledge. Is it not evident that 
nations, who had fixed the names of many more objects than we, must 
naturally have known a great many more f 

From what Aristophanes and other dramatic writers tell us of the mode 
of living among the ancient Greeks we know that in their time fresh and 
salt fish formed a very important article of trade. Athenaeus quotes about 
two hundred passages of authors, whose works are now lost, in which 
different ways of preparing and preserving fish are mentioned. Xeno- 
crates, JEschylus, and Sophocles did not consider it beneath their dignity 
to speak of very tempting bills of fare; and Archestratus, who assisted 
Epicurus in seeking the qualification of the senses, seems to have de- 
scribed a great many such in his poem, " Dipnologia," a most amusing 
and excellent cook-book, whose loss is still deplored by modern gourmands. 
In the city of Athens the government, in its paternal care, even went so 
far as to make a law obliging fishermen as soon as they brought their fish 
to the market to sound a gong, so that everybody might buy fresh fish. 
We are also told that fishmongers, in order to sell their stock more rapidly, 
were not allowed to sit down, but required to stand during the time fixed 
for selling.t 

That fish formed a favorite article of food in those times, is clear from 
the fact that great importance was attached to their fisheries. But other 
considerations also tended to increase their interest in the success of 
the fisheries. Fleets, as is well known, played an important part in all 
of the wars of those ages. It was often a matter of considerable difficulty 

* Regarding the remarkable fish-colony, Comrnachio, compare the work by M. Coste, 
" Voyage d'exploration snr le littoral de la France et de l'ltalie." Paris, 1861. 

t This law seems to have been known in Vienna in the fifteenth century. At any 
rate, there has been found in the archives of that city an ancient decree ordering the 
fishermen to sell their fish standing and bare-headed, exposed to the scorching rays of 
Bun and to storm and rain, thus forcing them to sell their fish speedily and at a reason- 
able price. 


to find sailors sufficient to man them, and especially experienced sailors. 
It was, therefore, a matter of great importance to the governments of 
Athens, Sparta, and other states, that the fisheries should be encour- 
aged, especially the sea-fisheries, which, in our days also, are considered 
the best nurseries of sailors for the navy. 

We must also take into account the fact that the greatest wealth of 
Greece grew out of her colonies. To maintain an intimate connection with 
these was of the utmost importance; and for this end, also, the fisheries 
were especially useful, since along the coasts of these colonies all those 
fish were caught which move in schools. These fish formed an impor- 
tant article of trade, not alone for the colonies, but also for the mother- 
country, so that the former were necessarily dependent upon the latter. 
The article for which there was the greatest and most widely-spread 
demand, was salt-fish. All historians of that period agree in laying 
stress on the great importance which this article held in commerce, 
even before the time of Alexander, and during the last centuries of the 
independence of Greece. 

But after wealth increased, and luxury and effeminacy took the place 
of the original simplicity of life and manners, the fisheries developed an 
inexhaustible supply of new articles of food, and the Black Sea (Pontus 
Euxinus) and the Sea of Azof (Palus Mceotis) became what the banks of 
Newfoundland were to the maritime states of Europe during the first 
centuries after their discovery. Besides fresh n'sh, dried and salt fish, 
oil, glue, and a number of other articles, prepared in an ingenious man- 
ner from the roe and the intestines of fish and of other animals living 
in the water, as also a large number of peculiar kinds of medicine, pre- 
pared from them, became the objects of large and extended mercantile 
enterprises; and all these were often sent, at an enormous expense, to 
the most distant portions of the then known world. Hence it was that 
the fisheries constantly increased in importance, so that thousands of 
slaves became educated as sailors and fishermen. 

But the fisheries of Greece could not save her from decay. There 
arose in Italy a new nation whose fixed purpose was to subdue the 
world, which it ultimately accomplished. Borne, nursed by a wolf, never 
renounced its wolf-nature. First, it ravished its neighbor's daughters 
in order to secure wives ; then their sons, in order to secure slaves ; and, 
finally, it carried its eagles over the beautiful land of the Greeks. But 
Borne was practical, and its rule proved an advantage to the fisheries. 
The most important question was how to raise sailors for the fleet. The 
number of fishermen was not sufficient, and the crews of the Koman 
galleys consisted more of rowers than of sailors ; but the latter were in 
great demand, as they were more familiar with the element where battles 
were to be fought. 

Not only politics, but religion also, proved advantageous to the fish- 
eries, for the Liciuian law decreed that on certain days of the year salt- 
fish only could be eaten. The fishermen had also their special festival, 
which was celebrated with great pomp on the 3d day of June. 


The Komans, like the Greeks, carried on their fisheries partly along 
the coasts and partly in the open sea. A large number of fishermen's 
societies had been organized, which fitted out large vessels and sent them 
on long cruises all over the Mediterranean, and even beyond the Pillars 
of Hercules, up and down the coasts of North Africa, Spain, and Por- 
tugal. They well knew how to make use of favorable weather, and were 
familiar with the best hours for fishing by day and by night ; as, for ex- 
ample, just before the rising of the sun and the moon, and just after 
their setting. 

The most ordinary fishing-implements were the harpoon, the line, and 
different kinds of nets and seines. It will thus be seen that fishermen 
in our time are not so very far in advance of their ancient brethren, 
although of course these implements have been somewhat improved 
during the progress of ages. 

Noel de la Moriniere gives the following account of the method of fish- 
ing with lines : u The lines were generally made of horsehair, single, 
double, and plaited. The hair of horses was preferred to that of mares, 
and black hair was not esteemed as highly as white. According to 
iElianus, the hair was colored in different ways. The fishing-pole was 
chosen with reference to the supposed weight of the fish to be caught 
and the resistance it could offer. The hooks, which were of copper or 
iron, covered with tin, were single, or composed of several branches, 
and of different thickness. If fish were to be caught having sharp 
teeth, and hence able to injure the line, it was surrounded just above 
the hook with a covering of horn or some other hard substance, e. g.> 
copper. For catching sharks, or similar fish, iron chains were employed. 
Many details concerning these implements are found in the works of 
the ancient writers." (Histoire g6n6rale des Peches, p. 188.) 

Special care was taken in the selection of bait for line-fishing. The 
most common bait was small fish, larvse, worms, or insects ; some- 
times, also, the lungs and liver of hogs and goats, shell-fish, and polyps ; 
and even at times the entrails of animals which had been saturated 
with an extract of myrtle and other odoriferous plants. Oppianus, and, 
after him, Cassianus Bassus, as well as other writers in the time of the 
emperors, have described a large number of different kinds of bait. 
They were prepared to suit the tastes of the different fish. Thus the 
" aurata" was caught with almonds and the sword-fish with mullets. Op- 
pian says that the " lycostome " (a sort of herring) was the best bait 
for catching the " sargus." As soon as a certain quantity had been 
thrown into the water they came in large swarms to eat it, and the fish- 
ermen then seized the opportunity to inclose them in their nets, and 
thus frequently caught large numbers.* 

* This use of bait in net-fishing reminds us of the sardine fisheries on the coast of 
Brittany, as carried on in our own time. But here the roe of the cod-fish is used as a 
bait for the sardines. To give an idea of the enormous quantity of roe used for sar- 
dine-fishing, I will only mention that 30,000 kegs of roe are exported annually from 


The Eomans also used artificial baits ; and the art of making flies of 
feathers and other materials has, perhaps, never been carried further 
in our time even in Ed gland itself. Fishiug by torch-light was a favor- 
ite amusement, and several ancient authors describe this mode. 

There were peculiar methods of net-fishing, which we have only imi- 
tated or somewhat developed. Hemp, flax, and Spanish reeds were used 
for the manufacture of these nets, which were afterward tanned sev- 
eral times in order to make them stronger. The fishermen set them 
both along the coast and in the open sea. Drag-nets, which were first 
used by the Greeks, served for inclosing the large schools of migratory 
fish, and the stationary nets stopped them in their course. These latter 
were very large, and were made of a kind of plaited work of Spanish 
broom. Permanent nets of this kind were soon used at the mouth of the 
Bosphorus, on the coasts of Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia, especially in the 
Ligurian Sea, the Bay of Naples, the straits of Bonifacio and of Mes- 
sina, at the entrance of the Adriatic, the straits of Cadiz, and along 
the coasts of France and Spain. Strabo makes especial mention of the 
large stationary nets on the coast of the island of Elba. 

The four hundred names of fish spoken of by Greek authors are given 
in alphabetical order in the work of Aldrovandi, who, also, gives alpha- 
betical lists of fish in Latin, Italian, French, German, and English. 
Similar lists are found in Gesner, Artedi, and other authors. Those 
who desire further information on this subject are referred to the works 
of those ichthyologists. But to enable the reader to form some idea of 
the numbers and kind of fish known in those times, the following list is 
given, in which those groups and families are mentioned which were 
most numerous in the Greek and Latin seas. Each of these groups, 
therefore, comprises a considerable number of important species, to 
enumerate which would lead us too far from our special theme. In this 
list Lutken's system has been followed : 


a. TJie perch group. — Bed mullets (Muuus); breams ySparus); 
scisenoids (Scicena umbra); and white mullets (Mugil); besides quite 
a number of labroids (e. g., the parrot-fish, Scarus, and other simi- 
lar fish.) 

b. The toad-fish group. — 1, gurnards (Trigla); 2, frog-fishes, e. g., the 
angler (Lophius piscatorius) ; 3, gobies (Gobius); 4, blennies (Blennius); 
the sea-wolf (Anarrhicas lupus); 5, codfishes (Gadus), and especially 
the " Asellus ;" 6, flounders (Pleuronectes) ; and among these the turbot 
(Pleuronectes rhombus), plaice {Pleuronectes Mmanda), sole (Pleuronectes 
solea,) &c. 

Norway to France. Each of these kegs contains about 140 kilograms, making a total 
of about 4,500,000 kilograms, or about 9,000,000 of pounds, valued at about 3,000,000 
francs. Several owners of large fisheries have assured me that the buying of this roe 
deprives them of half the profits of their sardine-fisheries. 


c. The mackerel group. — The mackerel {Scomber scombus)) the tunny 
(Scomber thynnus); the scad (Caranx trachurus), and the swordfish 
• d. The pipe-fish group. — The sea-horse (hippocampus). 


a. The carp group. — The common carp (Cyprinus carpio); the tench 
(Cyprinus tinea), and the loach (Cobitis). 

b. The eel group. — The common kinds of eel and the sea-eel (Anguilla, 

c. The salmon group. — Nearly all kinds. 

d. The herring group. — Especially the anchovy (Engraulis encras- 


a. SharJcs (squalus). — The dog-fish (Scyllium canicula) ; the blue shark 
(Galeus vulgaris)) and others. 

b. Bays (raja). — The saw-fish (Pristis); the cramp-fish (Torpedo). 


Lampreys (Petromyzon). — The river lamprey (Petromyzon fluvialis), 
and the sea-lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). 

Besides these fish, whales, dolphins, lobsters, crabs, oysters, various 
kinds of shell-fish and other sea-animals, that came within the scope of 
the fisheries, are mentioned, and ought therefore to be noticed in this 
place. In the following pages some of the most important fish, as well 
as the mode of fishing for them, &c, will be mentioned 5 then the salt- 
ing of fish 5 and finally we will see what Pliny says about the artificial 
fish-ponds, which will naturally lead us to speak of lobsters, oysters, 
shell-fish, &c. 


The mullet (mullus) was a great favorite with the Eomans. Horace 
says, "You praise, O fool, a mullet of three pounds, which you are 
obliged to cut into several pieces ; " and Martial praises the mullet, say- 
ing, " The mullet of four pounds, which you had bought, was the chief 
attraction of your feast," (ccencepompa caputque fuit).* 

Noel de la Moriniere tells us in the following words to what length the 
Eomans carried their passion for mullets : 

"^he mullet was one of those fish that were most sought for in 
degenerate Borne, and it was made the subject of the most refined 
sensual enjoyment with the emperOrs and the aristocracy, who had 
become thoroughly depraved by the extravagant use that was made 
of the world's plunder. It is difficult for us to realize the enormous 
value which the Eomans placed upon this fish, for as it never reaches 

* Martial, Epigrams, s, 31. 


any great size, they did not hesitate to pay its weight in gold if it 
was unusually large. Seneca and Suetonius have given us, in their 
writings, descriptions of the extravagant taste in the preparation of 
the mullet for the table of the rich. We read there how each guest, 
with the most refined cruelty, looked upon the mullet destined for 
his own dish, die before him, in order to enjoy the rapid change 
of brilliant hues which the fish then exhibited. The wildest fancies 
that the most extravagant luxury could imagine were realized in pre- 
paring it for the table. The freedmen who were intrusted with the 
preparation of the mullet enjoyed the greatest privileges, and a good 
cook was often better paid than a good general. Mullets were served 
on dishes lavishly adorned with precious stones, and the most costly 
spices were used in cooking them. During the reign of Heliogabalus, 
extravagance reached such a height that this emperor, who had become 
tired of mullets, although at that time they were growing scarce, ordered 
(according to Lampridius) a dish to be prepared consisting of nothing 
else but the mouth-fibers of mullets. It may well be imagined what an 
enormous quantity was required to satisfy this morbid taste. 

" Mullets from the straits of Gades (the straits of Gibraltar or the 
straits of the Pillars of Hercules) enjoyed the greatest reputation. 

Dat rhombos Sinuessa, Dicarchea littora pagros, 
Herculese mullum rupes .... 

" Scarcely less famous were those from the sea around Sicily and Cor- 
sica. According to Seneca, (epist. 95,) the Emperor Tiberius sold at 
auction a mullet, weighing four pounds, to Apicius and Octavius jointly, 
for the sum of 4,000 sesterces, ($156.) This fish, which can easily be 
recognized, is very frequently represented on the fresco paintings which 
have been dug out from the ruins of Herculaneum and Portici." 

Though not exposed to the same cruelties as the mullet, there was 
another fish which almost equaled it in costliness : — 


The scarus, a fish of the labroid family, was, according to Pliny, (Hist. 
Nat., ix, 17 j xxx, 10,) originally found only in the iEgean Sea. But 
in the time of the emperors, when the simplicity of former days degen- 
erated into extravagance and luxury, the wrasse was brought from 
Greece to adorn the tables of the wealthy Romans. One of the freed- 
men of the Emperor Claudius, Elipertius Optatus, who commanded a 
Roman fleet in the Ionian Sea, brought a large quantity of these fish to 
the coast of Italy, where they were put into the water near Ostia, at 
the mouth of the Tiber. For five years all fishermen who caught such 
fish in their nets were ordered to throw them into the sea again ; and 
the consequence was, that that portion of the sea, and even the Tiber 
itself, as far as the gates of Rome, swarmed with them. This attempt 
to transplant fish proved so entirely successful, that these transplanted 


scat, soon gained the reputation of excelling in richness of flavor 
those of the Greek seas. In the time of Pliny, the scams was, without 
doubt, considered one of Jbhe greatest dainties. Originally, the stur- 
geon held this place, then the basse (lupus) and asellus, and at last 
the scarus "came, saw, and conquered." 

Ovid, in his book " Halieutikon," relates a remarkable trait in the 
nature of this fish : when it has been caught in a net it does not swim 
any further, as this would cause it to become fastened with its gills in 
the meshes, but it swims backward, wagging its tail. As soon as 
another scarus outside the net notices this movement, it comes to its 
assistance, by seizing the tail of the captive, and thus draws it out of 
the net. The relation of this remarkable phenomenon shows the accu- 
racy of the observations of the ancients. Pliny tells us that the mullet 
and the scarus when they find themselves pursued, act like partridges 
and little children, hiding their heads at the bottom of the sea, and 
imagining that the pursuer cannot see them, because they cannot see 

According to Suetonius, the " shield of Minerva," the famous monster- 
dish which Vitellius brought into fashion, was garnished with scari 
The part of this fish most esteemed was the liver. 


The inursena is described in the following manner by Pan* dovius, 
whose words are given in a literal translation to show at the same time 
how natural history was written in the sixteenth century : " Mursenas 
are found in great numbers in all parts of the sea, but those from the 
coasts of Sicily are the largest and best. These are the kind which 
Columella calls ' flutes.' They swim near the surface, and it therefore 
sometimes happens that when the warm rays of the sun dry their skin, 
thereby depriving them of their flexibility, they can no longer dip beneath 
the water and can easily be caught with the hand. They are speckled, and 
are said to have star-like figures on their sides, arranged in the shape of 
the dipper, which, however, disappears immediately after death. They 
possess great cunning, for when they find themselves caught they swallow 
the hook, bite through the line with their teeth, and thus make their 
escape. I am of opinion that the ancient Romans prized the muraena more 
on account of its long life than of its delicious flavor 5 for the large num- 
bers required for daily use could easily be kept in ponds prepared for this 
purpose, while most other fish soon died, either through grief at having 
lost their liberty or through the neglect of the pond-keepers. We know 
from Pliny that C. Hirrius, at a. banquet given to Caesar as Dictator, 
could place on the tables 6,000 mursenas from his own ponds. Murse- 
nas could easily be tamed, and taught to take their food out of a per- 
son's hand. Croesus, surnaraed the wealthy, was so much attached to 
a inursena which he had raised himself, that when it died he shed tears, 
and had it buried. We also read an account of an answer, which 


Croesus gave to L. Domitius, who laughingly expressed his astonishment 
that any one could weep over a dead mursena; it might, perhaps, be 
thought strange, he said, that he, Croesus, shed tears over a dead murse- 
na,but it was far more strange that he, Domitius, did not shed any tears 
over his three dead wives. (Domitius had three wives, whom he is re- 
ported to have poisoned in order to obtain their property.) 

Certain ladies showed great affection for mursenas ; thus Antonia, the 
daughter of Drusus, adorned a tame mursena with gold rings and brace- 

Mursenas eat human flesh, and the cruelty of Yedius Pollio in this 
respect seems well established. He placed those of his slaves who had 
been condemned to death in his fish-pond, in such a manner that they 
could not be eaten at once, but were gradually torn to pieces by the 
teeth of the mursenas. It is said that the ruursena breathes through its 
tail, and therefore dies sooner wheu struck on the tail than when struck 
on the head. 

D. Ambrosius and several other ancient writers assert that snakes 
mate with niursenas, and that the latter entice the snakes to the seaside 
by a certain peculiar whistling sound. Athenseus does not believe this, 
and in corroboration of his opinion quotes from a work on popular su- 
perstitions, written by Andreas. Mursenas spawn all the year round, and 
of this kind, the Murus, the largest and strongest is of a uniform color, 
very much resembling that of the larch ; so at least, Aristotle affirms: 
Pliny calls this kind Myrinus. There is also a river Mursena, which is 
much smaller and has only one point 5 and which according to Dorianus 
is the same that Athenseus calls gallaria, and I think that Athenseus 
must have meant by this smaller kind what we call lamprey and not 
the sea-fish. " Iresius assures us that the flesh of the mursena is not less 
nourishing than that of the eel, but on account of a certain hardness and 
moisture it is very indigestible. It is, however, much prized on account 
of its delicious entrails, with which, as Lampridius tells us in his history, 
Heliogabalus, while far from any sea, regaled his court and the whole 
rural population. 


Of the cod family, our northern codfish was certainly not known 
to the ancients. The kiud best known and most highly prized was the 
Asellus, which, in all probability, is our Gadus merhiccius. At all events, 
Jovius tells us that the fish which the Ligurians call asellus was named by 
the Komans squamus, or merlitza. Pliny informs us how highly this fish 
was prized. There were two kinds. The larger one is named, by Jovius, 
banchus, and reaches a length of two feet. The smaller kind he calls 
callarius. Pliny says that they have a small stone in their head, and 
praises their delicate flavor. Galenus maintains that its flavor strongly 
resembles that of the codfish. Aristotle relates that during the great 
heat of summer they hide themselves, and he is unable to tell how often 


they spawn. The asellus was also called Bacchus on account of the wine 
color of its mouth, and this circumstance caused Ovid to exclaim u that 
a fish with so many excellent qualities did not deserve so ugly a name 
as asellus {i. e., little ass.)" 

As an article of commerce the asellus was, for the most part, salted, 
and in that shape sent all over the Eoman empire. 

The Eomans did not confine themselves to these common fisheries, 
but also ventured to attack the more dangerous animals of the sea; 
and even whales, which came into the Mediterranean, often became a 
prey to the fisherman. 

According to Oppianus, this fishery, although only of casual occur- 
rence, resembled very much our mode of catching whales before our 
fishermen began to use explosive projectiles. There were attached to 
the line, which the whale would drag under water while escaping, 
two large leather bags filled with air, precisely like those which the 
Greenlanders and the inhabitants of Kamschatka use. The description 
of Oppianus is remarkable, as it contains many interesting details, and 
seems to be entirely trustworthy. He says : u The moment the monster 
is attacked, it dives down to the depths of the sea, and the fishermen 
anxiously wait for its return. Their light boats plow the foaming 
waves, and rapidly fly toward the battle-ground, where a combat is soon 
to take place, on whose fortunate termination the keenest interest is 
centered. The fishermen encourage each other by shouts, every one 
strains his powers to the utmost, and the sea presents a scene of ani- 
mated confusion. As soon as the whale shows himself again, it is at- 
tacked with double-hooked spears. Its blood begins to flow, and colors 
the sea for a great distance ; but like a staunch vessel, braving the 
thunder and the lightning, the whale resists the furious attacks, some- 
times with a single movement of its tail sweeping away the boats which 
surround it, and mocking all the exertions of its assailants. But the 
decisive moment approaches; though mortally wounded, its tail still 
throws a deluge of water over its enemies. But nothing can now re- 
strain the zeal of the pursuers. The monster is overcome, and silent and 
motionless it floats on the water like a conquered man-of-war after a san- 
guinary battle. The victors then drag their prize ashore amid tumul- 
tuous shouts of joy." 


The ancient Eomans possessed many sword-fisheries throughout 
the whole extent of the Mediterranean, from Byzantium to Gibraltar, 
but they were of the greatest importance on the coasts of the Tyrrhen- 
ian sea and in the great and shallow bay which forms the southern 
boundary of France. The name of the promontory Xiphonion (called 
so after the Latin name of this fish, i. e., xiphias) shows how valuable the 
sword-fish was to the inhabitants of those coasts. 

De la Moriniere says: li One of the most common modes of fishing was 


to employ, as the Greeks do, boats built in the shape of a sword-fish, 
with a long projecting point representing the sword of the fish's upper 
jaw, and painted with a dark color like that peculiar to this fish. The 
sword-fish, imagining he sees a comrade, confidingly approaches these 
boats, when the fishermen, profiting by the mistake, plunge their spears 
into its side. The animal, although surprised, nevertheless vigorously 
defends itself, and by plunging its sword into the sides of the treacher- 
ous boat often exposes it to imminent danger. This moment is seized 
by the fishermen to cleave its head, and if possible to chop off its upper 
jaw. After thus overcoming its resistance, they tie their victim to the 
boat, and so drag it ashore. 

Oppianus has preserved an amusing characteristic of this fish, which 
seems to contradict the statement made concerning its courage. He 
says that if accidentally, or in the too eager pursuit of mackerel or tun- 
nies, it finds itself in a stationary net, it retreats, suspecting some snare, 
although it could easily tear the net. This timidity, however, proves 
disastrous, for, at last remaining quite still, the fishermen come, drag it 
ashore in their nets, and kill it. 


This branch of industry was carried on in the earliest times by the 
Phenicians on the western coast of Spain, and was afterward continued 
by the Greeks ; but it was reserved for the Roman empire to raise it to 
the highest degree of perfection. It was applied to many different 
kinds of fish. By the term u salt-fish," we must not understand exclu- 
sively fish laid in brine, but also those that were pickled with spices 
and odoriferous herbs. According to Noel de la Moriniere's learned re- 
searches, fish were preserved both in a raw and in a cooked state, and 
in the latter case they were prepared with precious herbs only. He 
adds, that ii would really seem difficult to suppose that the Roman 
Sybarites, who had the most costly fowl and fish brought from Persia, 
Colchis, and India, at such great cost, could find in salted tunnies, 
and mormyri anything to gratify their spoiled palates. 

The art of preserving fish in different ways made rapid progress. 
Care was taken not only to preserve such kinds as would retain a deli- 
cate flavor, but, also, to bring new articles into the market, that thus a 
brisk intercourse might be kept up between the cities of Italy and the 
colonies on the coasts of the Mediterranean. In those days the mullet 
was frequently salted, at which people in these times, at least with us, 
would sneer ; and its roe formed a favorite dish with all classes. From 
a passage in Athenseus, where he quotes Archestratus, we learn that 
the sword-fish was then salted in exactly the same manner as is now 
done on the coast of Sicily. " When you come to Byzantium," he says, 
" take a piece of salt sword-fish, and choose a slice of the back nearest 
to the tail." Large fish were cut into pieces and underwent different 


processes, both simple and complicated, according to which they were 
differently named. 

It would detain us too long to give a complete list of those fish which, 
when salted, were held in great esteem. The following are some for 
which there was the greatest demand : the sea-eel, from Sinope ; the 
tunny, from Byzantium ; the mackerel, from Spain ; the tunny, from 
Cadiz ; the sword-fish, from Sicily ; the mullet, from Exone; the scarus, 
from Ephesus; the "pagrus? from Italy; the eel, from Strymon; themor- 
myrus, from the Mle, &c. The names of all these fish of acknowledged 
excellence served as recommendations for those cities or countries which 
had gained fame by their manner of preparing them. 

But most of these fish have lost in our days the reputation which they 
formerly enjoyed. The mormyrus of the Nile, e. g., which Athenseus 
described, and with which the learned Geoffroy St. Hilaire has made 
us acquainted, is now scarcely known beyond the works of natural his- 
torians. The same holds good of the tunny, which is now preserved in 
oil, instead of being salted or dried as was the custom among the 
ancients. The Romans had learned from the Greeks a mode of pre- 
serving it, which, with some modifications, is used even in our time 
among the Italians and Spaniards ; it is called " escabeche." The fish 
are first fried in oil with bay leaves, salt, and spices, and then boiling 
vinegar is poured over them. This method was especially employed 
with several kinds of mackerel, but likewise with other fish, such as the 
" pagrus," the dorado, and even the larger kinds of perch. 

The inhabitants of the Greek Archipelago were the first to preserve 
the tunny. This fish was salted on the islands of Eubcea, Samos, and 
on the coast of Icaria, which acquired the surname, u the coast rich in 
fish." The ancient names, Cetaria domitiana, (near Orbitello and Santo 
Stephano,) and Terra cetaria, (stretching from Segarte to the promon- 
tory now called Santo Yito,) designate places where the Eomans had 
large stationary nets, and they show the importance of these fisheries. 

Tarentum, in the Tyrrhenian Sea, had gained a great reputation for 
its salt fish, especially for its delicious tunny, which was exported to 
remote districts. No less famous was the tunny from Sicily, especially 
that kind salted in Cephalo. 

The ancient Oetobriga, a Phoenician colony on the southern coast of 
Lusitania, near the mouth of the Guadiana, maintained its former great 
importance under the Romans on account of 'its stationary nets, and the 
immense quantities of tunnies which were salted on that coast. Resen- 
dius, (Antiquitates Lusitanise, 210,) assures us that even in his time, 
the ruins of the salting establishments of Cetobriga could be seen. The 
new town, Neocetobriga, which rose not far from the old one, and which 
the Portuguese have called Setubal, (Saint Ybes,) continued to carry on 
the trade in salt tunny, which had once enriched the Greek town. 
Castro, the historian, fully corroborates the statements of Resendius. 
He says the name of the town is derived from " briga," which in the old 


Lusitaiiiau language means "castle" or "fortified town," and from 
" cete," i. e., " great fish" (tunny). 

Malaga also owes its wealth and its name to the tunny fisheries, for, 
in the Punic language, " Malach" means both "to salt," and the "salt- 
ing place." Several other Spanish towns contended for the fame of 
bringing the best articles into market. Gades (Cadiz) gained the 
prize. The favorite parts for salting were the gristly portions of the 
head ; but many portions of the body were also used for this purpose. 
According to Galenus this fish was preferred in the salted state, because 
it then seemed less hard and easier to be digested. 

One of the most important fisheries in those times was a tunny-fish- 
ery, which, during the Grecian period, brought great wealth to the 
Oarian and the Milesian colonies on the Black Sea. When these fish 
in their periodical migrations came out of the sea of Azof, (Palus Mceotis^ 
they followed the coast of Asia, and many were caught in nets near 
Trapezon. Thence they went in company with other kinds of mackerel 
to Sinope, whose inhabitants, according to Strabo, grew immensely 
wealthy through this fishery. Amastris, Tejum, and Heraclea, located 
on the same coast, likewise reaped a rich harvest. If we may believe 
the author of " Storia philosophica e politica delle colonie degli antichi 
nel mar Negro," the best harbors were Sinope and Galidon, on the 
river Halys, near whose mouth great salting establishments were lo- 

Notwithstanding the enormous quantities of tunny caught on the 
coast of Thrace, the salt-fish from Sardinia were the most famous, 
and those of the best quality were called Sardinians. 

The fish known in France by the name of " auriol," (in Spanish " cav- 
alia?) is another kind of mackerel, great numbers of which were salted 
by the Greeks. Atkenseus praises it in the most eloquent manner, and 
its fame increased still more after the Eomans had conquered Spain, 
and had learned how to extract from its entrails the far-famed u garum 
sociorum," a fish sauce which was greatly prized. Although several 
ancient authors have written the most glowing encomiums on this secret 
preparation, (for it seems to have enjoyed then as great a reputation 
as the English fish-sauce in our times,) it is impossible to discover 
what this ' garum sociorum ? really was. Pliny, the encyclopedist of the 
ancients, says that this fluid matter was an extract from the entrails of 
certain fish that had undergone the process of fermentation. " The 
Greeks," he says, "in former times, prepared 'garum' from the fish 
called by that name ; the best ' garum ' comes now from Carthage, in 
Spain, (Carthagena,) and is called ' garum sociorum.' You can scarcely 
buy two boxes (each containing about ten pounds) for a thousand 
pieces of money. No fluid, except scented waters, sells for so high a 
price, and it is in great demand by all classes of society. The fisher- 
men of Mauritania, Betica, and Carteja, prepare it from mackerel, fresh 


from the ocean, which alone are fit for this purpose. The f garuni ? 
from Klazomene, Pompeii, and Liptes is also highly praised ; and the 
prepared fish from Antipoles, Thurium, and Dalmatia are no less to be 
recommended." (Pliny, Hist. Nat., XXXI, 8.) Paul Jovius tells us 
that the best " garum " was obtained in Africa. This " garum sociorum" 
was chiefly prepared by a certain society of mackerel fishermen, (hence 
the term u sociorum,") which in those times seems to have played a part 
similar to that of the " Maatjes Haringen," herring-society, in the Neth- 

Besides this prime article of " garum," other kinds formed an exten- 
sive item of trade among the .Romans. Athenaeus tells us, among other 
things, of one kind prepared from the entrails of the " lyJcostome," a fish 
which is closely related to the anchovy, and which is probably the same 
as that still to be obtained at Antibes, although Martial only speaks of 
"garum " prepared from tunnies. (Mart. Epigr. XII, 103.) A similar 
preparation, called " Incia," was frequently used in the time of Helio- 
gabalus, for preserving fish. 

The epicure, Apicius, offered a great prize to any one who would 
invent a new sauce or paste of the livers of mullets. But the name of 
the man who secured the prize has been lost to posterity ; for, as Pliny 
remarks, " it is easier said than done." 

We will only mention, in conclusion, that the Greeks preserved the 
sea-eel in salt and marjoram. They were the greatest masters in pickling 
the dorado and in preserving the scarus in brine. But the Eomans far 
excelled them in the use of costly spices, and in pickled and preserved 
fish, which still further increased the enormous prices paid for the rarest 
fish brought at large expense from foreign countries. 


Of lobsters, Paul Jovius speaks thus in the fortieth chapter of his 
book: "Among the shell-fish, the lobster enjoys the greatest reputation. 
Theodorus thinks this is the animal which Aristotle calls the crab. But 
Oppianus understands by the term < crab,' what is commonly known 
as the 4 lion/ and Theodorus calls this kind 4 Gommarusl For in the 
passage where he describes so vividly the combat between the mursena 
and the crab, he gives to the latter an indented pincer-like claw, with 
which it bites the neck of the lamprey." It is certain, however, that both 
the lobster and the crab were known to the ancients, besides some other 
kinds, such as the craw- fish, and those which Oppianus and the rest of 
the Greeks called " Karidce. " Paul Jovius does not show any great 
knowledge of natural history, when he says that the lobster is red, and 
yet certainly quite as much as the French Academy of Sciences in the 
good city of Paris more than three hundred years later, since, not very 
many years ago, one could read in the great dictionary of that academy 
under the word "ecrevisse" the following remarkable definition: "animal 
rouge qui marche en reculant," i. e., " a red animal which walks back- 
2 F 


wards!" a The flesh of this animal was generally found to be very hard, 
but its eggs were eaten prepared in different ways and were considered a 
great delicacy. They were also put to various medicinal uses j thus they 
were recommended for hectic and feverish persons ; and Galenus's teacher, 
iErkhirion, advises those who have been bitten by a mad dog, to roast 
alive one of that kind of crawfish, which in Greek is called " Karkinos? 
and to turn towards the constellation Canis, when the sun passes through 
the sign of Leo," &c. 

As to these ponds, we give the information found in Pliny, Paul Jovius, 
and the Frenchman Ooste in his extremely interesting work, Voyage 
d'exploration sur le littoral de la France et de PItalie, &c, in that por- 
tion of the book where he speaks of the raising of oysters in Lake Fusa- 
ro, p. 97. 

From the passage quoted from Pliny, we see that the Romans had fish- 
ponds for various kind of fish, but that the mura3na, on account of its 
peculiar tenacity of life, was best suited for being thus kept. Several 
such ponds are mentioned as belonging to noted persons. Spawning- 
ponds, however, such as are now found in great numbers on the coast of 
France, where the fish are raised and fattened till they are fit to be sent 
away, seem to have been unknown. It would appear that persons were 
satisfied with putting those fish in ponds that were caught in the sea, to 
have them on hand, as it were, to fill an order at any time ; although 
many circumstances seem to favor the opinion that, at least as far as 
the muraenas were concerned, many of these fish were bred and raised 
in these very ponds. Though there are not sufficient grounds to prove 
that the Eomans had a regular system of breeding and raising fish, we 
know enough to conclude that the raising of oysters had reached such 
a degree of perfection as to command our highest admiration. 

Pliny tells us that the first inventor of oyster-ponds was a certain Ser- 
gius Orata, who in the time of L. Orassus lived near Bajae. What led 
him to this invention was not gluttony, but a spirit of speculation. He 
had made a good deal of money by his bathing establishment, and by 
redecorating old country-houses so as to make them look like new ones, 
when he conceived the project of speculating in oysters. At that time 
the existence of oysters on the English coasts was not known, and Brun- 
dusium, which had almost the exclusive privilege of supplying the whole 
of Italy with the article, was so far from Eome, quite in the southeastern 
part of the peninsula, that the oysters reached the capital in a very poor 
condition, often completely spoiled. It is well known that oysters and 
fish are of a better quality in some localities than in others. Thus the 
best lupus or basse* is found in the river Tiber between the two bridges; 
the best turbots in Eavenna ; the best nmrsenas in Sicily, &c. Orata found 
in Lake Lucrinus a place specially favorable for his undertaking. This 

* Lupus of the ancients, or Labrax lupus of naturalists. 


lake, which had a clear bottom and pure water, was connected both with 
the salt water of the ocean and with fresh river-water, and in the hands 
of Orata it soon became a gigantic oyster-pond, which could at all times 
supply Rome with oysters of such an excellent flavor as soon to gain the 
very highest reputation among all the dainty eaters in Italy; for they 
ordered these oysters to be sent to them in wooden boxes filled with 
water, even to places at a great distance from the sea. Athenseus tells us 
that a noble sycophant, by the name of Apicius, sent fresh oysters care- 
fully packed in jars to the Emperor Trajan, while he was waging war 
against the Parthiaus in the interior of Asia. 

The fullest information on this subject we gain from two ancient mon- 
uments of the time of Nero, of which a short description is given in the 
above-mentioned work by M. Coste. These remains consist of two 
supulchral-urns of glass, one of which was discovered near Popularia, the 
other near Eome. They resemble in shape our refrigerators of terra- 
cotta, viz, a round vessel with a long, narrow neck. The outside of 
these urns is covered with a sort of engraving, which, notwithstanding 
its rudeness, shows us very distinctly an ancient oyster-pond. To con- 
vince us still further, we find on one of them the following inscriptions 
over the engraving: "Anima felix vivas," and "Stagnurn Pallatium," 
(the first containing a wish that the soul may live happy, the second be- 
ing the name of a country-seat which the Emperor Nero possessed on 
Lake Lucrinus ;) and immediately in the center of the engraving we 
read the word " ostriaria," i. e., oyster-pond. On the other urn we read 
the following inscription, " Stagnum Neronis Ostriaria ; Stagnum Silva 
Bajae," which leads the thought to Bajae's famous coast, where also 
Nero had a villa. The most remarkable thing about these engravings is 
that a great number of poles are seen rammed in the ground — placed in 
circles — for this can only have been done with the same object for which 
this is done in our days near Lake Fusaro, viz, to give to the young oys- 
ter an object to which it may cling. 

It is evident from this that the ancients not only kept a stock of oys- 
ters in their ponds, but also let them breed there, and in various inge- 
nious ways made their extraordinary fruitfulness a source of income. 
We have here authoritative proof of a regularly organized system of 
oyster- culture, which brought untold wealth to its inventor, Sergius 
Orata, this " magister luxuriorum," as Cicero calls him. His example 
was followed, and soon many other oyster-ponds were established. Li- 
cinius Murena was the first who had ponds for fish, especially for the 
muraena, which he named after himself, and soon most of the rich and 
noble Roman families possessed their own fish-ponds, such as Philippus, 
Hortensius, and Lucullus. The last mentioned, as Pliny tells us, had a 
channel dug through a mountain, near Naples, at a greater expense 
than it would have cost to build a magnificent country seat, and in this 
manner brought the sea- water into his gardens. Pompey, from this cir- 
cumstance, called him a u Xerxes in the toga." 

Shortly before the outbreak of the civil war with Pompey, Fulvius 


Hirpinus was the first in the Tarquinian district to establish snail- 
ponds. He arranged them in separate divisions : one for the white 
snails from Reatine, one for the Illyrian snails distinguished by their 
great size, one for the African snails, which are very fruitful, and 
another for the Solitanian snails, which are the finest of all. He even 
invented a special kind of food for them, prepared of thick must, flour, 
and other ingredients, and by means of this artificial diet they grew to 
an enormous size. 

Galenus says that, as a general thing, oysters, especially if eaten raw, 
produce Witty thoughts. Pliny attributes to them a purging property, 
and advises people to use the burnt shells as a remedy for dysentery. 

In addition to the above, a large number of mussels and garden-snails 
were eaten, such as the blue mussel, " purpuras," "buccina," "aures," 
" digiti," " ungues," " patellae ; " and Horace says, " effeminate Taren- 
tum boasts of her large scallops." Tbe ancients knew how to prepare 
even sea-urchins and star -fish as dainty dishes. 

The above may serve to give some idea of the state of the fisheries 
among the ancient Greeks and Eomans, as well as the different branches 
of trade and industry connected therewith ; and we certainly feel con- 
strained to admit that they had attained to an astonishing degree of 
perfection. The fall of the empire also brought about the decline of the 
fisheries. Rude hordes of barbarians overran the empire in overwhelm- 
ing numbers, and destroyed a refined, and, in many cases, effeminate, 
but at the same time beautiful, product of the oldest civilization. 

I close these remarks with the following words of the excellent Noel 
de la Moriniere : " The conquest of so many countries which were forced 
to accept laws made for them by the barbarians, sundered all commercial 
ties, after having destroyed the industry and art which gave them life. 
We therefore see the most important fishery of the Mediterranean, the 
tunny-fishery, after being entirely destroyed, revived again after long ages. 

" In the history of the later emperors, we hear no longer of those 
costly fish which the luxury of the wealthy procure from distant coun- 
tries, and which gave luster and the greatest enjoyment to their ban- 
quets. The fish-ponds which once swallowed princely fortunes, stand 
empty and deserted. The time of extravagance has passed, and strange 
and morbid fancies have lost their sway. People can procure only with 
great trouble the most common fish, in order to fulfill the ritual of their 
religion. Fishing is carried on only by the poor inhabitants of the 
coasts, whose abject poverty is their best protection against the plunder- 
ing invaders, or who only manage to carry on their miserable trade, un- 
disturbed, by retiring to lonely nooks, such as the lagoons near Venice, 
or the swamps of Narbonne, thus interposing large and almost impene- 
trable morasses betw en themselves and their avaricious pursuers." 

Public interest is now directed toward the North, and here we also 
find fisheries springing up anew, which soon grew to an astonishing ex- 
tent and won for themselves a new and grand commerce j so that Sergius 
Orata would still not be entirely out of place among us. 



By Carl Dambeck.* 

The following statistics show the yield of the fisheries of the most 
important States on the North Atlantic Ocean : 

3. — Norway. 

During the twenty years from 1850 to 1870, the average annual 
amount of herring caught was 1,452,000,000 pounds, (avoirdupois,) 
representing a value of upward of $2,200,000. The total export of 
herring in 1870 was valued at $3,850,000. During the last few years 
the herring have mostly gone to the province of Nordland. In the bay 
of Malanger a comparatively large number of great herring were caught 
in 1871. From August to November, 270,600,000 pounds were caught ; 
and in 1872, as many as 1,210,000,000 pounds. The herring fisheries 
south of the Stadt promontory have decreased. The cod-fisheries in 
Soudmore were very considerable in 1871. Up to the 19th of March 
four millions of cod were caught, representing a value of $330,000. The 
yield of the spring cod-fisheries in 1873 was nineteen and a half millions 
of fish, 110,000,000 pounds of liver, or at least 55,000,000 pounds of oil, 
and 39,600,000 pounds of roe, or two millions of fish more than the year 
before, or a half million more than the average annual yield of the last 
fourteen years. The total values have probably been the largest ever 
realized in the spring fisheries, and amounted to $1,870,000; while in 
1872 it was only $1,386,000; and, on an average, $1,375,000 annually 
during the period from 1859 to 1872. The mackerel fisheries, of course, 
did not yield so abundantly. In 1870 a million of mackerel, valued at 
$14,300, were exported to England from Christiansand ; and in 1871, 
1,813,860 were exported from the same place, valued at $63,202.70; 
while 100,000 were sold in the city and neighborhood. The salmon 
fishery in 1871 was likewise very productive. During the first half of 
the year, 177,685 pounds, valued at $29,729.70, were exported. The 
yield of the Norwegian fisheries were larger in 1870 than in any previous 
year. The fish exported were valued at $10,833,909.90, or $1,268,300 
more than in 18li9, and $2,865,500 more than in 1866. 

2.— Sweden. 

According to the report of the superintendent of fisheries, Mr. von 
Thlen, the value of the fisheries in 1869 was only $894,947.90, while in 
*Das Ausland, Stuttgart, 1874, No. 18. Translated by H. Jacobson, p. 368. 


1870 it amounted to $917,079.90 ; for during the last years the herring 
has again appeared on the coast of Bohuslan. Large quantities were 
also caught in 1870 near Marstrand and Malmo, so that in Carlshamn 
alone 19,140,600 pounds were salted, while in 1872 there were only 
11,000,000 pounds. The mackerel fishery on the coast of Bohuslan, 
which only continues one month, yielded in 1871 an income of from 
$8,400 to $11,200 in the district of Stromstadt alone. The salmon fish- 
eries on the south coast near Carlscrona, adjacent to the Kullen promon- 
tory, and those in the rivers Dal and Klara, were likewise very pro- 
ductive. The export of fish from Gottenburg was very large in 1872. 
No less than 135,905 pounds of salmon packed in ice, 349,882 pounds of 
dried cod, and 5,500 pounds of anchovies were shipped. 

3.— Denmark. 

The Danish fisheries are not so extensive, because the abundance of 
fish is not so great, and because the extent of coast is less. In 18G9 the 
fisheries in the Ljimfjord yielded the following : the 2,459 persons em- 
ployed caught fish valued at $104,975, yielding a net income of $79,312, 
and giving about $32.50 to each fisherman. This was less than in 1868, 
when the total yield of fish was valued at $112,370. The number of 
herring caught in the autumn of 1870, on the coasts of the island of 
Funen, was so large that they did not all find a market. In the Great 
Belt it was very small in 1872, twenty-eight boats from the town of 
Korsor catching about a million, and valued at $6,445. In 1871 a large 
number of cod were caught on the western and eastern coasts of Jut- 
land, of which about 353,100 pounds, valued at $3,332.50, were ex- 

4. — Germany. 

The German fisheries are not so remunerative, since the extent of 
coast is small, and much of it consists of inland seas. The total net 
annual income is valued at $1,500,000. Two fishing societies were or- 
ganized in lb68, at Hamburg and Bremen, on the North Sea. The Ham- 
burg North-Sea fishing society has worked with a capital of $120,000, 
and their receipts during the first half of 1869 amounted to $23,380.64, 
and during the same period in 1870 to only $19,713.26, or $3,667.38 less. 
In consequence of the poor fishing season and the foundering of a vessel, 
the society sustained a loss of $4,281.46, and was obliged to close its 
office in 1871. The Bremen society met with similar disastrous experi- 
ences, and has also been dissolved. Great Britain exported to Germany, 
in 1871, 962,533,000 of herring, valued at $3,436,837.50, which outlay 
ought to have been avoided. If, however, this importation of foreign 
fish is to be prevented, the fisheries must be carried on much more ener- 
getically than they have yet been. In Emden, a new herring-fishing 
society has been formed, which had every reason to be satisfied with its 
success in 1872, for in twenty-one trips they realized $39,780. And if 
it should combine fishing in deep water with fishing on the ocean, the 


probability is that it will be more successful than its predecessors. The 
fishermen operating from the mouth of the Elbe up to the boundary of 
Jutland, catch, for the most part, bream, herring, and sturgeon. The 
sturgeon fishing has been particularly good during the last few years. In 
1871, however, it was not so good in the river Eider. In 1873, so many 
plaice were caught that whole wagon-loads were sold for a trifle. The 
number of cod and ray caught was likewise very large, while the herring- 
fisheries on the east coast of Schleswig-Holstein were very poor. On the 
Mecklenburg coast, especially near Warnemiinde, the herring -fishery has 
been carried on for some years by societies. Warnemiinde possesses 
four herring-nets. Of the three societies fishing east of that town, one 
netted $750 in 1871, while another realized only half of that sum. 
The fishermen on the coast of Pommerania are very poor, for the fisher- 
ies yield but little. The fisheries on the coast of Eastern Prussia are 
richer, salmon and bream being caught in considerable quantites. In 
September of 1860 about 3,500 salmon were caught at the village of 
Euss, near Memel, the average weight of each being 33 pounds, while 
some ranged in weight from 82J pounds to 102 pounds. 

5. — Great Britain and Ireland. 

Great Britain, undoubtedly, has larger fisheries than any other coun- 
try in Europe. Cod are caught near Newfoundland ; herring, pilchard, 
and sprats, off the British coasts ; salmon, mackerel, plaice, and other fish 
are caught in Scotland and Ireland. McCullogh estimates the annual 
income of the British fisheries at $20,000,000 ; others, at $GO,000,000. 
The increase of the cod-fisheries will be seen from the following figures: 
In 1790, it was 72,160,000 pounds; in 1814, 137,038,880 pounds, valued 
at $12,458,080; in 1825, only 107,030,000 pounds; and in 1835, only 
78,320,000 pounds, valued at $1,780,000; wnile in 1848, it was again 
110,000,000 pounds. The success of the mackerel fisheries in 1821 was 
entirely unexpected. The value of fish caught by sixteen boats, near 
Lowestoft, on June 30, was $26,260 ; and the total value of fish caught 
on the coast of Suffolk amounted to about $70,000. In 1827, no less 
than 10,521 persons were engaged in the pilchard fisheries on the coasts of 
Cornwall and Devonshire, and the capital employed in these fisheries was 
$2,206,075. There are cases on record where 10,000 barrels were landed 
in a single day at one port, each barrel containing 2,500 fish. During 
the winter of 1820-'30, the sprat fisheries were so successful that loads 
of from 1,000 to 1,500 bushels — costing from 12 to 16 cents a bushel — 
were brought to Maidstone to be used as manure for the hop-fields. The 
herring fisheries are still more abundant, and were especially rich in 
1871 on the south coast. In Lowestoft alone, more than 50,000,000 of 
fish were brought ashore in seven days. They sold, of course, at a very 
small price. On the Scotch coast, the fisheries were not so successful. 
The herring-fisheries in Stornoway proved a failure, and the result of 
the fisheries on the east coast was not much better. Notwithstanding 


this, Great Britain exported to Germany, in 1871, 962,533,000 pounds, 
valued at $3,272,750. In 1872, the fisheries proved very successful. 
The Fraserburg herring-fleet of six hundred boats caught in a single 
night upward of 10,000,000 of herring, valued at from $75,000 to $80,000. 
This is the largest haul on record in those parts. In no country of the 
world, in proportion to its size, are the salmon fisheries as valuable as 
in Great Britain. They are most extensive in Scotland, where from 
10,000 to 12,000 salmon are caught annually. In 1820, 21,817 were 
caught $ and from 5,000 to 6,000 are caught every summer in the Tweed 
alone. The Scotch salmon fisheries were particularly successful in 1870, 
many large aud beautiful fish being taken. 

6. — France. 

As this country is very rich in natural products, and as the extent of 
its coast is small, the fisheries are not carried on to any great extent. 
But notwithstanding this, they yield a large income, the annual sum 
being estimated at no less than $8,200,000. Herring, pilchard, and sar- 
dines are chiefly caught on the coasts and in the North Sea. Sardines 
and tunnies are caught in the Mediterranean, and cod near Newfound- 
land. In 1848, 110,000,000 pounds of cod were taken. The herring and 
pilchard fisheries are even more productive. Single boats from Dun- 
kirk, Calais, Dieppe, and Boulogne, have caught as many as 28,000 in 
a single night. On the coasts of Provence and Languedoc, from 220,000 
to 330,000 pounds of tunnies are frequently caught at a single haul. 
The finest sardiens are found near Antibes, Frejus, and St. Tropez, and 
they are brought to the fair at Beaucaire in enormous quantities. 

7. — North America. 

The following statistics will show sufficiently the importance of the 
North American fisheries. The fisheries near Newfoundland have 
yielded the following : Excluding those fish caught by the English and 
French, the Americans, in 1829, caught 195,030,000 pounds of cod, St. 
Johns, in 1842, exported cod-fish and oil valued at $4,476,315. The 
Americans caught, in 1848, 165,000,000 pounds of cod. St. Johns also 
exported, in 1842, salmon valued at $68,390, and herring estimated at 
$35,595. Montreal exported in 1841 fish valued at from $350,000 to $400,- 
000, and fromGaspe there were shipped from 14,300,000 pounds to 16,500,- 
000 pounds. The New Brunswick fisheries annually yield from $200,000 to 
$300,000, and those of the United States in 1847 yielded $17,069,262. The 
most important fisheries in the country last named, are the cod and 
mackerel. Boston, alone, in 1849, exported about 231,856 barrels of 
mackerel. The cod-fisheries of Greenland were also very successful in 
187 . 


Christiania, November, 1873. 
To Dr. Spencer Baird, 

President of the United States Commission 

Fish and Fisheries, Washington, D. C. : 

Of the Norwegian salt-water fisheries, the haddock-fisheries are the 
most important, and next to them the herring-fisheries. 

The largest haddock-fisheries are those of the Loffoden, (Islands,) in 
the district of Nordland, carried on from the beginning of the year till 
some time in April. 

About the time that the fisheries cease near the Loffoden, another 
important haddock-fishery commences, in East and West Finmarken, 
which continues till about the 24th of June. 

A third periodical haddock fishery, which promises to become of con- 
siderable importance, is carried on on the coast of the Bomsdal district, 
and partly, also, further north, in the districts of Fosen and Namsdal, 
about the same time that the Loffoden fisheries are in progress. 

Of the herring fisheries, that of the spring herring, which is conducted 
in the districts of Stavanger, Southern and Northern Bergenhus, and 
Romsdal, during February and March, has, so far, been the most import- 
ant. During late years this fishery has been somewhat irregular. While 
it has partly abandoned the usual fishing-places, especially in the dis- 
tricts of Stavenger and Southern Bergenhus, it has been coufiued, to 
some extent, to places where fishing was formerly not very good. On 
the whole, however, it has diminished considerably, and during the last 
four years the number of fish caught has not been half of what it for- 
merly was. 

At the time that the spring-herring fisheries began to diminish another 
large herring fishery was opened up in the northern part of the country, 
especially in the district of Nordland, and partly, also, in that of Tromso. 
The fisheries have generally continued from the middle of October till 
some time after the beginning of the year. The number of fish caught 
has been constantly on the increase, and last year it reached 700,000 
t' fonder," (2,156,000 bushels,) or as much as in former times was con- 
sidered the result of a good spring-herring seasou. The species of her- 
ring called great herring (stor sild,) has become an excellent article of 

* Translation of a printed letter addressed to the United States Fish Commissioner by 
the authorities of the Norwegian commission, in response to an application for docu- 
ments relative to the fisheries of Norway and Sweden. 


Besides the periodical herring- fisheries mentioned, there may be reck- 
oned scattered fisheries along the coast of the Bergen and Trondhjem 
districts, all during the summer and autumn. Summer herring and fat 
herring are caught here, and they constitute an article of food much 
sought after. 

Further information regarding the kinds, results, and methods of our 
fisheries, is contained in a work on the Norwegian fisheries, published 
in 1864, by O. K Loberg, in the official statistics of fisheries ; as, also, 
in the anuual reports of the various superintendents of fisheries. 

These works will show that besides the fisheries referred to, other 
regular fisheries are carried on during the year, each of which, consid- 
ered separately, is not as important as those already mentioned; but 
which, nevertheless, taken as a whole, play no inconsiderable part in 
the economy of the country. 

Scientific investigations concerning our fisheries have, as far as the her- 
ring fisheries are concerned, been made by Mr. AxelBoeck. The results of 
his investigations are published in a work entitled u On Herring and 
Herring Fisheries," only the first part of which, however, has been 
printed. What connection there may be between the decrease of the 
spring-herring fisheries and the development of the great herring fish- 
eries, is yet an unsolved problem. 

Similar investigations regarding the haddock fisheries on the Lofloden, 
have been made by Mr. G. O. Sars, who has published several reports 
on the investigations which have led to very valuable discoveries as re- 
gards the development and the manner of living of the haddock. 

There is no uniform law prescribed for our salt-water fisheries, but 
there is a number of separate laws for the separate fisheries, or for the 
various districts. 

Attempts, however, have been made to secure some uniformity of 
principle in these different laws, so that no greater discrepencies exist 
between them than are necessarily found between different fisheries 
and different localities. The old laws and regulations undertook to 
exert an influence on the fisheries as well as on the preparing of the 
fish, by various restrictions and prohibitions. Tbe new fishing laws, on 
the contrary, have been limited principally to regulations concerning 
the maintenance of good order during the fishing season, especially by 
appointing officers for this purpose; so that the fishermen are allowed, 
to a great extent, to carry on their fishing operations in any way most 
acceptable to themselves. 

A sea-police has been organized by the law of May 23, 1857, for the 
haddock fisheries on the Loflod Islands. This police exercises its func- 
tions by means of small vessels called •' skates," (skoiter,) manned by 
five or six men, and generally under the command of a naval officer. 
As to the details of this organization we refer to a resolution of the gov- 
ernment sanctioned by the king, October 27, 1858, and contained in the 
official journal (Departement tidende)fov 1858, p. 781, sqq. The expenses 


of this police amount annually to about 7,000 Norwegian " specie dalers," 

A similar sea-police has been organized for the spring-herring fish- 
eries by the law of September 24, 1851, modified by the amendments of 
August 28, 1854, March 21, 1860, June 22, 1863, and March 27, 1869. 
The annual expenses of this police, which formerly amounted to 10,000 
Norwegian u specie dalers," ($11,380,) have been reduced, during the 
last few years, to 4,000 " specie dalers, ($4,552.) 

It has also been found necessary to strengthen the local police for the 
great-herring fisheries. There has not, however, been the same amount 
of inspection for these as for the Loffoden and spring-herring fisheries. 

Legislation with regard to the great-herring fisheries is comprised in 
the laws of April 25, 1863, as amended May 22, 1869, April 20, 1872, 
and April 5, 1873. These laws apply generally to all herring fisheries, 
except the spring-herring fisheries, since these are the only ones with 
regard to which the law of September 24, 1851, with its amendments, is 
in force. 

The Finmarken haddock fisheries are regulated by the law of Septem 
ber 13, 1830, some of whose provisions, however, were aunulled by the 
law of May 18, 1860. 

The law of 1830 is based on old and limited principles of fishing ; 
and the question has been raised, since most of its provisions are con- 
sidered antiquated, whether it would not be better to introduce regula- 
tions for the Finmarken fisheries similar to those in force at the Loffo- 
den fisheries. 

As will be seen, however, from the report of the committee appointed 
for this purpose, made August 12, 1868, (published as u Storthing," Par- 
liamentary document No. 79, session 1868-'69,) the committee thought 
it advisable, in deference to public opinion in the district, not to make 
any changes for the time being. 

The above-mentioned law of May 18, 1860, contains some general pro- 
visions for all the salt-water fisheries in the districts of Nordland and 
Finmarken, in as far as these fisheries have not become the subject of 
special legislation. 

In addition to the laws already mentioned a law of February 20, 1869, 
is in force, making some changes in the regulations concerning fines. 

We must consider the law of July 26, 1781, concerning the preparing 
of so-called M round fish," (rund-fish,) in the districts of Romsdal and 
Sondmore, as nearly antiquated ; also the law of December 21, 1792, 
concerning the haddock fisheries in the district of Fosen ; the law of 
August 21, 1821, concerning the fisheries near Skudesnses, and the law 
of the same date regarding the spring-haddock fisheries in the Borgen- 
fjord (bay) of the Sondmore district. 

With special reference to those salt-water bays and inlets which in- 
deed may be considered as inclosed basins, and whose abundance of 
fish is supposed to be chiefly dependent on local increase, the law of 


June 5, 1869, prohibits the use of any implements which, by catching 
or destroying the young fish, would prove detrimental to the fisheries. 
As to lobster-fishing, there is a law of June 29, 1848, still in force, 
which, however, is destined, at no distant period, to undergo consider- 
able alterations. 

As regards the administration of justice at the fisheries it may be well 
to notice the following; it is a general rule that any differences arising 
among the fishermen are not referred to any other judicial authorities 
than those to which they naturally belong, and are treated in no other 
manner than other matters in law, except that, as far as local circum- 
stances make it necessary, the local police is strengthened, and the local 
judge is himself either present at the fishing-stations, or sends a substi- 

There are special regulations for maintaining order and for adminis- 
tering jusiice at two of the more important fisheries, viz, the spring- 
herring fishery in the districts of Stavanger, Southern and Northern 
Bergenhus and Eomsdal, and the spring-haddock fishery on the Loffo- 
den Islands in the northern district. 

A special sea-police has been organized for each fishery, as author- 
ized by the laws which regulate these interests, consisting of from 
three to four officers and a number of subordinates, all under the com- 
mand of a naval officer. This police, which, as far as the naval officers 
are concerned, belongs to the department of the interior and is com- 
manded by the officer who superintends the whole fishery, is under the 
immediate control of the respective local civil authorities. The higher 
local authorities are empowered to appoint for each of the two fisheries 
above mentioned one or, if necessary, several special judges, who, in- 
stead of the ordinary judges, administer justice during the fishing sea- 
son in all matters relating to fishing in the fishing-districts. 

This superintendence during the fishing-season consists in the exer- 
cise of the usual police functions, and in seeing that the special fishing- 
laws, the general commercial laws, and the liquor laws are properly 
observed. In case of violations which can be punished by fines, the 
superintendent imposes the fine. If this fine is paid, the matter is con- 
sidered adjusted ; if not, it is referred to the judge. The superintending 
authorities, i. e., the nearest officer present, with two men chosen by 
him, must also arbitrate in cases of conflict between fishermen. (Law 
of September, 1851, section 9, and law of May 23, 1857, section 33.) 

The special judge must decide in cases where the fine imposed by the 
superintending authorities is not paid, as well as in other cases of viol- 
ation of the law which are punishable by heavier penalties than fines. 
If, however, the case after having been heard by the judge cannot be 
determined in accordance with existing regulations without the ordinary 
authorities, (the government of the district,) it is then referred to them 
to be disposed of in the usual manner. The special judge also arbitrates 
in private differences arising in fishing or in the fishing trade. He has 


also the power, in cases not strictly belonging to the fishing superinten- 
dence, to select two men, who, in conjunction with the judge, have 
power to make a decisiom. 

The period of office of the special judge is limited to the fishing sea- 
son, and those cases which he cannot fiuish for want of time are referred 
for further action to the ordinary judge of the district. The judge also 
exercises this authority in cases belonging to his jurisdiction, which 
otherwise belong to the bailiff, such as the carrying out of judgments, 
arrest, confiscation, &c. 

The superintending authorities have, as has been already intimated, 
some small sailing-vessels at their disposal, on which the naval officers 
live during the fishing-season ; and they sail round to the different fish- 
ing places, while the j udge is generally stationed on shore, where he 
hears and acts upon the cases presented for decision. 

As to the right of fishing in salt water, the following statements may 
be made : 

1. All kinds of fishing can be freely carried on in salt water by every 
Norwegian citizen, whenever he may please to do so, in the sea or along 
the coast. The state does not reserve to itself any rights in this re- 
spect, except ^he necessary police-regulations for maintaining order. 
(Regarding the privileges of landowners of the coast see 2.) 

2. Free fishing in salt water is not confined to the sea, but also com- 
prises fishing on the coast, except that as far as the coast itself is used 
in fishing, e. g., for drawing fish on land or for fixing implements, this 
rule is somewhat modified ; and in some places a different law has 
grown up in course of time, as regards fishing for salmon and oysters. 

Fishing from land is the exclusive right of the landowner, and he 
alone has authority to place stationary fishing implements. Any one, 
however, may make use of the land to draw his fish ashore, but with 
this condition, that the landowner can claim a certain bonus, which, for 
herring fishing, is fixed at 3, and in some cases at 6 per cent. (See law 
of May 23, 1863, and law of September 24, 1851, § 36.) 

The right to fish for salmon on the shore belongs, in many places, ex- 
clusively to the landowner, even if fishing is not carried on with sta- 
tionary fishiug implements. Oyster fishing belongs as a rule to the 
landowner. It may well happen that in some places a more exclusive 
right of the landowner with regard to that portion of the sea adjoining 
his property has grown up in course of time. 

3. Besides the use of the coast for drawing fish ashore, which is guar- 
anteed to every fisherman, some fisheries, carried on in the open sea 
with boats, such as the haddock fisheries, require that the fisherman 
shall have some place on shore for his boats, for his implements, and 
for drying and preparing the fish. The old fishing laws contained 
various regulations obliging the land-owners to allow the fisherman a 
certain space on the coast, in return for a bonus fixed by law ; and even 


now similar regulations are made in the Finmarken fishing law of Sep- 
tember 13, 1830, sections 28-30. 

Like regulations contained in the old laws regarding the most impor- 
tant haddock-fisheries, viz, those of Loffoden, were annulled by the law 
of May 23, 1857. By this law, this matter is left to a mutual arrange- 
ment between the fisherman and the landowner, and the latter is in no 
way obliged to grant the fisherman any space on his land along the 

It is but natural that among the fishermen themselves certain customs 
and usages in fishing have arisen, which are strictly observed. Of such 
usages, however, which are always taken into consideration by the 
jndges in deciding a case, we are unable to give any further informa- 

Of Loberg's book u On the Fisheries of Norway," and of G. O. Sar's 
last report, the Department of the Interior possesses no more copies. 
We inclose the following : 

1. Statistics of Fisheries for 1870 and 1871. 

2. Eeports on the Spring-Herring Fisheries for 1868-'69, 1869-'70, 
1870-71, 1871->72, and 1872-73. 

3. Eeports on the Loffoden Fisheries for 1869, 1870, 1871, 1872, and 

4. On Herring and Herring-Fisheries, especially the Norwegian 
Spring-Herring Fisheries, by Axel Boech, Part I. 

5. Eeports of G. O. Sars, 1864-1869. 

6. Department Journal, (Departementstidende,) 1858, No. 49. 

7. Amendment of the Law regarding Spring-Herring Fisheries, March 
27, 1869. 

8. Amendments to the Law regarding Herring-Fisheries, May 22, 1869, 
April 20, 1872, and April 5, 1873. 

9. " Storthings," (Parliamentary,) Document, No. 79, session 1868-69. 

10. Law regarding Changes m the Eegulations for treating Judicial 
cases arising under the Fisheries, February 20, 1869. 

11. Law regarding the Limitations in the Use of Fishing-Implements 
in Salt-water Inlets, June 5, 1869. 

The other laws mentioned in this letter will be found in the Eeview 
of Fishing Laws prepared by Mr. Thomas Boeck. 


By Hjalmar Widegren. 

[Nordisk Tidakrift for Tiskeri, published at Copenhagen. New series, Part J, November, 1873. Trans- 
lated by H. Jacobson.] 

Sweden, extending from north to south through more than 12° of 
latitude, is washed by the sea on about two-thirds of its circumference, 
which forms, in many places, large inlets. The country itself is trav- 
ersed by numerous streams, and possesses a very large number of lakes, 
so that nearly one-tenth of its whole area is covered with water. The 
natural conditions of the eastern and western coasts, as well as those 
of the water-courses and lakes of northern and southern Sweden, are 
different, so that, taken as a whole, the country possesses a very great 
variety of fish. 

In such a country the fisheries must of course form a considerable 
source of income ; and, it is well known, that next to agriculture, forest- 
culture and mining, the fisheries are the most important source cf reve- 
nue, giving employment and subsistance to a large portion of the popu- 

The most important fisheries in Sweden are — 

1. The lake-fisheries and the coast-fisheries in the numerous narroic 

2. The salmon-fisheries in the streams and inlets. 

3. The herring -fisheries in the Baltic and along the coasts. 

4. The fisheries in the Kattegat and the North Sea. 

1. The lake and coast fisheries in the south of Sweden are chiefly pro- 
ductive of perch, pike, bream, and fish of the carp species ; as also the 
burbot and the eel; while in the north of Sweden, they yield mainly fish 
of the genus Coregonus, but also some of those just mentioned. The lake 
and coast-fisheries are carried on partly as a means of living by the 
fishermen residing near the lakes and coasts j and partly as a means by 
which those farmers, peasants, mechanics, and soldiers, who either own 
the right of fishing in certain places, or have temporarily secured it, 
may earn some little money. Although statistics regarding the Swedish 
fisheries have been collected for some years, it is not yet fully known 
how many persons are annually engaged in them ; nor has the value of 
the implements used, and of the fish caught been ascertained. From 
what is known in this respect as to some of the provinces, it appears 
that this branch of the Swedish fisheries is of considerable financial 
value, in proof of which, we may mention, that in Nerike, one of the 


smaller provinces of the kingdom, 489 persons are employed in them, 
and that the value of the implements is $0,430. 

In the other proviuces, with the exception of Skaueand Blekinge, the 
lake and coast fisheries are carried on by a much larger number of per- 
sons. The money value of gwiniad, Coregonus albula, and char caught in 
lake Wettern, amounts annually to $27,775. On the Calmar coast, the 
fisheries are carried on by 182 persons as their exclusive source of in- 
come, while 689 having some other employment in addition, are also 
engaged in them. The value of the implements used is $20,385. The fish 
caught in the lakes and on the coast are either sold fresh in the neigh- 
borhood, or are used in the households of the fishermen. As these peo- 
ple keep no account of their labors, it has been found impossible to 
obtain any exact data regarding the money value of those fisheries. In 
order to reach some approximate result, the number of men employed 
and the value of the implements used have been ascertained ; and from 
these figures a tolerably correct estimate may be made regarding their 
great value. 

2. The salmon fisheries. — These are carried on in the streams of the 
northern provinces, from the end of May till the beginning of Septem- 
ber ; and in the western streams, ( Wiska, Atra, Nissa, Laga, and Quis- 
truin,) from the beginning of April till the middle of July ; and on the 
coasts of Blekinge and Skane, (in the south of Sweden,) during the 
winter months as long as the ice does not interfere. The streams rich- 
est in salmon, are theTorne&, Lule&, Ume&, Ljusne, and Angerman, in 
the province of Norrland. Next come the western streams, mentioned 
above, whose salmon are more highly valued than those from the east 
coast, and which are fully as good as the Scotch salmon. The most ex- 
tensive salmon fisheries in Sweden are those of Elfkartlby, in Gestrik- 
land, and of Morrum, in Blekinge ; the former yielding an average an- 
nual income of $11,110 ; and the latter, of $8,300. 

At present, the salmon is mostly sold fresh in the country, or, packed 
in ice, is exported from Gottenburg and Stockholm to England and 
Germany, and especially to Berlin. The larger portion of the salmon 
caught on the south coast of Sweden, during winter, is smoked and sent 
to Germany and Denmark. According to the most recent statistics, the 
annual yield of salmon from twenty-seven Swedish streams is valued at 
$170,035. The salmon-fisheries on the coast of Skane and Blekinge 
yield an average annual income of $33,330. 

3. The herring fisheries in the Baltie and along the Coasts. — These 
fisheries, which are by far the most important in Sweden, are carried 
along the whole coast from Kullen on the sound, to the farthest point of 
the Gulf of Bothnia, exclusively with open boats, each manned by two 
or three persons. The fishermen use both stationary and floating nets ; 
and the best fishing is at different seasons along the northern and 
southern coasts. On the southern coast, the herring-fishery is carried 
on by a population living together in large fishing villages, and depend- 


ing entirely for subsistence on this fishery. On the coast of the inner 
Baltic, along the northern line of the Galf of Bothnia, and on the island 
of Gotland, the herring-fishery is partly carried on by persons living in 
the interior, who, during the fishing-season come to the coast, and 
partly by fishermen living permanently on the coast or on the small 
islands near it. The Baltic herring are partly sold fresh, or smoked in 
the towns on the coast, partly salted, packed in casks, and sent all over 
the country, and of late years even exported to Germany. 

As salt herring constitutes the daily food of the Swedish peasants and 
the lower classes in general, the amount secured in the country is not 
sufficient, so that a considerable quantity must be imported from Nor- 

Along the coast of Sweden, from Kalmar to Malon near Haparanda, 
the herring fishery is carried on with 3,275 boats, and the annual yield 
is about 66,500 tons of salt herring. In Blekinge there were salted in 
1868, 47,732 tons of herring; and in the Melmo and Christianstad dis- 
tricts, where the herring fishery is carried on with 685 boats, there were 
salted during the same year 13,600 tons. The greater portion of the 
herring caught in the two districts last mentioned are sold fresh to the 
inhabitants. On the island of Gotland, 1,911 persons, with 606 boats, 
are engaged in the herring-fishery, and the yield in 1869 amounted to 
30,070 tons. 

It may be safely asssumed that on an average the total annual yield 
of herring on the Swedish coasts of the Baltic amounts to 150,000 tons, 
representing, according to last years' prices, a capital of $833,330. 
Besides the herring fishery carried on in the Baltic, the Clupea harengus 
and Clupea sprattus are caught during the autumn and winter in the 
Kattegat near the coast of the province of Bohuslan. The Clupea sprat- 
tus is partly used fresh and partly salted or pickled, as anchovies, of 
which latter very large quantities have been exported during late years. 
The amount of herring caught near the coast of Bohuslan was, in 
1871, valued at $24,680. 

4. The fisheries in the Kattegat and North Sea. — These fisheries are 
partly carried on near the coast with smaller boats and partly out on 
the Kattegat and along the western coast .of Norway with larger ves- 
sels, of from 20 to 40 tons, and manned by twelve or fourteen persons. 

The implement used is the so-called " storbackau," a line with hooks 
which is laid out on the fishing-banks to the depth of 100 fathoms. 
Muscles or pieces of fresh fish are used as bait. With this implement 
they catch cod, ling, flounders, halibut, and other fish. Some of these 
are sold fresh, but most of them having been salted either by Norwe- 
gian or Bohuslan traders, are exported. Codliver oil is prepared from 
the liver, and the roe is salted and exported to France to be used as 
bait in fishing for sardines. In 1871 Bohuslan carried on the fishery in 
the Kattegat and the North Sea with 126 boats, manned by 1,226 per- 
sons. The amount of fish caught by them during the same year was 
3 F 


valued at $177,930. During that year 5,257 cwt. of salt-cod were 
exported from Gottenburg to England. The fisheries on the coast of 
Bohuslan, including mackerel-fisheries, employed 351 boats, manned by 
1,378 persons. The income from this fishery in 1871 amounted to 

The lobster -fishery in Bohuslan was valued in 1871 at $22,180, and 
the oyster-fishery at $4,610. 

The editor of the Scandinavian Piscicultural Journal adds to the above 
article the following, items of information : In Sweden, the following 
officers are appointed to manage the fisheries : 

A superintendent of the lake, river , and Baltic fisheries, with two assist- 
ants, and one teacher of pisciculture. This superintendent is, at present, 
Br. Ejalmer Widegren, and his assistants are Br. C. Bystrbm and Mr. 
V. Wehlburg; while the teacher's place is filled by Baron C. 6. Ceder- 
strom. Besides these government officials there are special superin- 
tendents over certain sections of water in some of the provinces, whose 
chief duty it is to see to the proper observance of the fishing-laws. 
Some of these superintendents receive a small addition to the salary paid 
them by the provinces, from the central government, while others are 
paid entirely by the provinces, by fishing companies, or by large-landed 
proprietors. The superintendence of the open sea fisheries (Kattegat 
and North Sea) is intrusted to an official, who is responsible to the Bo- 
huslan authorities. The present incumbent is Mr. G. von Yhlen. 

The duties of the first-mentioned superintendent,* as defined by a let- 
ter from his majesty, the king, dated February 12, 1864, and by a royal 
proclamation, dated November, 1867, are as follows: 1, to inspect the 
fisheries in the different parts of the country ; 2, to propose suitable 
fishing-laws wherever needed, and to assist the local authorites in up- 
holding these laws; 3, to collect and compile statistics of the fisheries; 
4, to superintend the government Normal Institution of Pisciculture, 
and all similar establishments throughout the country ; and, 5, to give 
the necessary instructions to the other superintendents. 

* Dr. Widegren. 


By Alexander Sciiultz. 

The similarity in many respects between the fish and fisheries of the 
great lakes and the northeastern coast of the United States and those of 
certain portions of Russia has induced me to print the very interesting 
and important memoir of Mr. Schultz,* prepared to accompany the Rus- 
sian display of fishery-products, implements, &c, at the Vienna Expo- 
sition. In regard to the conversion of the sturgeon, so abundant in the 
United States, and until lately considered a refuse fish, into a valuable 
article of trade, the memoir will be found replete with valuable informa- 
tion. It also details novel modes of capturing and utilizing the cod, the 
herring, the salmon, the seals, and the smaller cetaceans, (porpoises, &c.,) 
mauy of them perfectly available in the United States, and worthy of 
introduction.— [S. F. Baled.] 

In the district of Archaugel, large fishing-villages are found on the 
coasts of the White Sea, especially near the mouths of rivers and 
streams, such as the Dwina, the Onega, the Souma, the Kern, the Kovda, 
the Niva, the Oumba, and the Varzoukha. A still larger portion of the 
population of the cities of Archaugel, Onega, and Kem, as well as of the 
town of Souma, devote themselves exclusively to fishing and trading in 
fish. The coast of the Arctic Ocean which extends east of the White 
Sea has a very sparse population. Only here and there, at a great dis- 
tance from each other, are seen the wretched huts of fishermen, inhab- 
ited only in the summer, and the felt tents of Samoyed families, who 
also live by fishing. The inhabitants of the town of Mezene, and those 
of the village of Poustozersk, at the mouth of the Petshora, are engaged 
either in fishing or hunting the seal or the walruss. 

Not more than 3,000 fishermen live in the vast region of the Lower 
Petshora, extending three hundred versts (about one hundred and ninety- 
eight miles) along the shores of the sea, and four hundred versts (about 
two hundred and sixty-eight miles) up the river. The Lapland coast,' 
with the exception of the Kola Peninsula, is entirely uninhabited as far 
as the Norwegian frontier. Only nomadic Laplanders show themselves 

*Ministere des domaiues. Comite" special, charge" de la collection des produitsdes in- 
dustries rurales et forestieres pour 1' exposition universelle de Vienne. — Notice sur le 
p6cheries et la chasse aux phoques dans la Mer Blanche, l'Oc&m Glacial et la Mer Cas 
pienne. Par Alexandre Schultz, conseillor d'dtat actuel et president de l'adiniuistra- 
tiou des pecheries d' Astrakhan.— St. PCtersbourg, 1873. 8vo, 80 pp., 2 1. 


here and there. This country, called the Mourman coast, possesses a 
great number of large and small inlets, which form excellent ancboring- 
places. Five thousand fishermen assemble there for the season, from 
April till the middle of August. The majority of these come from the 
coast-villages of the White Sea, located in the districts of Onega and 
Kem, and they are known by the name of "Poinortsie" — inhabitant? 
of the sea-coast. 

The average annual value of the fisheries in the White Sea, the Arctic 
Ocean, and the rivers flowing into them is a million "roubles," (about 
$700,000 gold.) Of this sum, the cod-fisheries on the Mourman coast 
yield at least 400,000 "roubles," (about $280,000 gold,) and the herring- 
fisheries in the White Sea 250,000 "roubles," (about $175,000 gold.) 
The phocse-huut yields annually about 80,000 "pouds" (2,880,000 pounds) 
of oil, valued at 120,000 "roubles," (about $84,000 gold.) 

The manner of fishing and of preparing the fish when caught is much 
less perfect on the coasts of the White Sea and the Arctic Ocean than 
that of the Astrachan fishermen. The fish are, in general, salted in an 
imperfect and slovenly manner. The monks of the convent of Solovetsk 
alone distinguish themselves by their manner of salting herring ; and an 
exception must also be made with regard to the salting of the salmon of 
the Dwiua and the Onega. The reason of this is, not that the fishermen 
do not know the approved method of preparing fish, but that they shun 
the trouble and expense, and content themselves with the old saying, 
"We go on doing as our fathers and grandfathers have done before us." 



In the White Sea and the rivers falling into it, such as the Petshora, 
the following kinds of fish are found, of which I will first give the Rus- 
sian names : " Okoune," (Perca fluviatilis,) perch ; " yorsche," ( Acerina 
vulgaris;) "revtsa," (Cottus quadricomis ;) "kertcha," (Cottus scorpio ;) 
"zoubatka," (Anarhichas lupus,) wolf-fish; " karass," (Cyprinus caras- 
sius,) carp; " vyouue," (Tinea vulgaris,) tench; "pestousch," (Gobio 
fluviatilis ;) " yelets," (Leuciscus'grislagine;) in the Tsilrna and Peza 
Rivers: "yaz," (Leuciscus idus,) nerrling; "soroga," (Leuciscus rutilus ;) 
"lestche," (Abramis brama;) "oukleika," (Aspius alburnus ;) "stchouka," 
(Esox lucius,) pike; "siomga," (Salmo salar,) salmon; "coumja," 
(fialmo trutta,) sea-trout; " koriouchka," (Osmerus eperlanus,) smelt; 
"kharyouss," (Thyynallus vexillifer, Agassiz,) grayling; "sig," (Corego- 
nus oxyrhynchus, Lin.,) long-snouted white-fish; " nelma," (Coregonus 
leucichthys, Pall.;) " seld," (Clupea harengus,) herring; " treska," (Gadus 
morrhua,) cod; " pertoua," (Gadus callarias ;) " navaga," (Gadus na- 
vaga ;) " saida," (Gadus saida ;) " ualim," (Lota vulgaris,) burbot; 
"kambala," (Pleuronectes platessa,) flouuder; " kambala," (Pleuronectes 
flesus ;) " sterliad," (Acipenser ruthenus,) sterlet; " minoga," (Petromy. 
zon fluviatilis,) lamprey; "petchorskoi sig," (Coregonus polkur, Pall.,) 


"peliad," (Coregonus peled, Pall.,) " tchir," (Coregonus nasutus, Pall.,) 
" oinoul," (Coregonus omul,) and u saourei," (Coregonus vimba,) species 
of white-fish. 

Of all these kinds of fish, those forming the largest article of com- 
merce are the herring, the salmon, and the cod; then follow the 
"navaga," the "sterliad," and the "ininoga." The fish are exported 
to tbe districts of Vologda, Viatka, Yaroslaw, Moscow, Olonets, St. 
Petersburg, and to the several districts of the province of Archangel. 


The species Glupea harengus is found in the White Sea only, and is 
divided into a large and a small kind. The former is caught especially 
on the southwest shore in the bay of Kandalakcha, near the convent of 
Solovetsk, and near the village of Pongama, and more rarely near the 
city of Kem and on the northwest shore of the bay of Kandalakcha. 
The small herring usually attains the length of from 6 to 7 J inches ; 
and a thousand weigh about two " pouds" and a half, (90 pounds.) These 
herring come up in large numbers from the depth of the sea in the 
beginning of November, and make for the bays, especially the bay of 
Soroka, where the inhabitants of the coast villages always catch them 
in great abundance. 

Herrings leave the deep sea only during the spawning season, in 
order to reach the more shallow bays, and the fishermen call them by 
different names, according to the time when they make their appearance. 
The herring of St. George (appearing about the time of that saint's day) 
has perfectly matured roe, and spawns in April. Two hundred and 
fifty of these fish weigh only one u poud," (36 pounds.) It requires, on the 
other hand, only from 81) to 120 herring of St. John to make the same 
weight, and these have most of the time roe and milt. The autumn 
herring are the fattest, but have neither roe nor milt. 

Organization of the herring fisheries. — It is a rule very generally ob- 
served that the interests of a whole community shall not be injured 
by the preponderating influence of private individuals, and that the per- 
sonal rights of every fisherman shall be protected. To insure this, vari- 
ous measures are taken, varying according to local conditions. For in- 
stance, in the villages of Kandalakcha, Kovda, and Kniajuoi, the herring- 
fishery is organized in the following manner : the places near these vil- 
lages where the fisheries are most productive being known, the entire 
community goes there, and the result of the common labor is divided 
among the fishermen in proportion to the number of male inhabitants 
of each village. 

This proportion is calculated in the following manner : At first, the 
number of fishermen is determined, and then the number of inhabitants 
obliged to furnish one fisherman. In counting one fisherman to three 
inhabitants, a family composed of three members must furnish one ; a fam- 
ily of six members, two j and so on. Families having only two members 


associate themselves with others numbering four members, and thus 
furnish two fishermen in common. Every one of these must furnish the 
salt and the necessary fishing-implements. When the fisheries have 
come to an eud, all the fish which have been caught are sold in a lump, 
and the proceeds are divided among all the persons who have taken a 
part in the fishing. Families which, though taking a part in the com- 
mou fisheries, wish to fish in other places, are authorized to do so with 
their own means ; but, if the places where they desire to fish are particu- 
larly rich, the community has the right to take possession of them as 
common property. 

On the northern coast of the White Sea, there is a large fishing- vil- 
lage called Kauzomene, where, in the autumn, herring-fisheries are 
carried on on a large scale near the mouth of the river. It is the cus- 
tom in this village that the inhabitant of the village who first arrives at 
the .mouth of the river has the right to cast his nets first ; but after 
having drawn them in, he must yield his place to the one who comes 
second, and so on. The herring caught there spawn in May and disap- 
pear entirely during the latter half of July. 

Toward the end of the autumn and the beginning of the winter, great 
herring-fisheries are going on in the bay of Soroka, where the inhab- 
itants of the coast are joined by considerable numbers of Kareles, who 
come from their villages, far away from the bay. Here every person 
fishes for himself, every family enjoying its own gains. The fishing here 
is always very productive, and it is not a rare case to find 100,000 her- 
ring in the net and 70,000 in the sweep-net. 

Implements for the herring-fisheries. — The two wings of the net, when 
spread out, have a total length of from 16 to 35 " sagenes," (112 to 
245 feet;) their depth is from 2J to 4 "sagenes," (17 J to 28 feet;) the 
meshes of the wings are from 1 to If of an inch square, and those of the 
purse or bag J of an inch. The bag is 4 " sagenes" (28 feet) long, and 
can contain 300 " pouds" (10,800 pounds) of fish. These nets are used 
on the south coast of the White Sea, particularly in the bay of Soroka, 
where usually 750 of them are employed at a time. The fisheries commence 
in the middle of November and last till the end of February. Holes are 
made in the ice in order to get the nets into the water, and they are 
kept there by means of small sticks tied to the wings of the net by long 
cords, and laid across the holes made in the ice. 

For the autumn herring-fisheries, nets are used whose wings are gen- 
erally 8 "sagenes" (56 feet) long, and every fisherman has such a net 
in his boat. The boats always go out two by two. A cord with a run- 
ning-knot tied to the prows of the two boats prevents their separating. 
Every boat is manned by three fishermen, one of whom rows while the 
second guides the helm, and the third continually sounds the sea by 
means of a long pole, to ascertain the presence of a school of herring. 
The moment the fishing ought to commence, the cord uniting the two 
boats is pulled out; and the fishermen in each rowing rapidly, they 


soon separate. During this time, one of the nets is cast, and the boats 
keep in the same place till the whole net is in the water ; then the oars 
are again put in motion, dragging the net a certain distance, when the 
two boats again unite. The wings are then drawn into the boats, the 
bag is detached from them, tied up like a purse, and left in the water 
till the second net has likewise been cast and drawn. After having 
brought this double operation to an end, the herring are taken out of 
the bag by means of hand-nets and crayfish-nets and put in the boats or 
laid on the shore. 

The largest nets, the so-called " eissauges," which are always hauled 
on shore, are from 50 to 100 " sagenes" (350 to 700 feet) long, and have 
a bag measuring 7 " sagenes," (49 feet.) 

The total length of this implement is 8 " sagenes," (56 feet,) and 
a cylindrical net is attached to its bag serving as a leap, 3 " ar- 
sheens" (7 feet) in length, and stretched over three small wooden 
rings. The meshes of the cylindrical net and those of the bag 
measure only half an inch, while those of the wings measure 1J inches. 
With nets of this kind, small herring scarcely two inches long 
are caught under fhe ice ; of these small herring, 2,500 weigh one 
" poud," (38 pounds.) This kind of fishing is chiefly carried on near the 
mouths of the Dwiua, and cart-loads of these fish are taken to Arch- 
angel, the price of one cart-load being generally 5 " roubles," ($3.50 gold.) 

The sweep-nets have mostly ten hoops ; the first or foremost one, being 
the largest, about 2 J " arsheens" (5 feet 10 inches) in diameter, while 
the last or hindmost, being the smallest, measures only \ " arsheen," (1 
foot 2 inches.) The hoops are placed at a distance of 1J " arsheens 1 ' (3 
feet inches) from each other. The meshes are one inch square. Two 
little necks, shaped like funnels, called "gorges" by the fishermen, are 
attached to the inside of the nets ; and, through these openings, the fish 
enter the net, where they become imprisoned. Each wing of the net 
measures 10 " sagenes" (70 leet) in length. These sweep-nets are placed 
at a depth varying from 1 to 3 " sagenes," (7 to 21 feet,) chiefly during 
the months of January and February. 

Preparing the herring. — The herring caught in the spring, summer, 
and autumn, in the bay of Kaudalakcha, at Pogama, at Solovetsk, and 
other places, are always salted. The monks of Solovetsk know how to do 
this admirably. They do not take out the entrails, but after having 
washed the herring properly, they barrel them in layers with the greatest 
precision, and put a thick covering of salt on every layer, after which 
the barrels are placed in the ice- vaults. 

In most of the villages, on the contrary, the herring are thrown pro- 
miscuously into pine barrels, which are so badly made that they scarce- 
ly retain the brine ; then a quantity of salt is added, and the whole is 
well shaken. Sometimes the large herring of St. John are dressed, 
and then placed in layers in the barrels, slightly salted. The barrels 
are then left to stand a week and a half till the fish are completely im- 


predated with tbe salt, and then finally closed. The barrels generally 
used are 1G inches high and 9£ inches in diameter. Every barrel contains 
usually from 70 to 100 herring of St. John, or from 200 to 250 of St. 
George, and its weight varies between 34 and 42 pounds. To every bar- 
rel the fishermen take 4 pounds of salt in the spring, and G pounds in 
the autumn. The largest barrels, containing from 150 to 400 herring, 
are one " arsheen" (2 feet 4 inches) high, and half an " arsheen" (1 loot 
2 inches) in diameter. At Archangel, the price of such a barrel varies 
from 30 to 50 " kopecks," (21 to 35 cents.) For salting, Spanish or Arch- 
angel salt is used. 

The herring are smoked in some villages of the district of Kem, at 
Saroka, at Jisma, and at Saukhoi Navoloki, where there are 80 smoke- 
houses. The village of Ouna, in the district of Onega, has 4 smoke- 
houses. They are simple sheds covered by a slanting roof, with small 
apertures to let the smoke pass out. Parallel to the walls, fifteen or 
more poles are placed at a distance of 1J "arsheens" (3 feet 6 inches) 
from each other, supporting other poles, which are placed across the 
former. On these poles small laths are placed, pointed at the end, and 
on which the herring are spitted, after having been washed and salted. 
After eight or nine days, the herring are thoroughly smoked. The whole 
process usually takes twelve days. The smoked herring cost 90 
"kopecks" (63 cents) a thousand, and sometimes even 1 "rouble" 25 
"kopecks," (about 87 cents.) Not less than ten millions of herring are 
smoked every year. 


They distinguish three kinds of salmon according to the time when 
they show themselves in the rivers. The first makes its appearance im- 
mediately after the breaking of the ice, toward the end of May or the 
beginning of June. Its roe is almost matured. The salmon of this kind 
is of medium size, and weighs about seven pounds. The second kind 
appears toward the end of Juue and during July ; it is small, and w r eighs 
only three pounds. At this time, male fish are found with the milt 
almost matured. The third kind begins to ascend the rivers in August, 
and stays there till the water is covered with a slight coating of ice. 
Among them are found males as well as females ; but milt and roe are 
so little developed that this salmon cannot spawn that same autumn. 
This kind is the largest and fattest; some caught in the Dwina and 
Onega weighing twenty pounds. The first two kinds named enter the 
rivers to spawn during the autumn of the same year. After having 
spawned, they spend the winter in the rivers, returning to the sea in 
the spring. In the Petshora, the Mezene, the Dwina, the Onega, and the 
Varzoukha, the salmon is caught in enormous quantities. 

Implements for salmon-fishing. — The bars, which extend over the 
entire breadth of the river or over a portion of the stream, consist of 
stakes firmly driven in the ground, to which poles are attached support- 


iug a sort of trellis made of boughs. Tbese parks are arrange in zig- 
zag shape, the outer angles having openings, where leaps or wooden 
boxes are placed. These bars are not used in the Petshora, the Mezeue, 
the Koulo'i, and the Dwina, but in ail the other rivers falling into the 
White Sea. 

As soon as the rising of the river has subsided, people begin to build 
these bars, always leaving an opening of 3 "sagenes" (21 feet) to let 
the fish and the boats pass. The bar of the river Ponoi consists of two 
parallel rows of stakes on which transverse beams rest, surmounted by 
long thick poles weighted down by stones. The stakes are driven in at 
a distance of 2 "sagenes" (14 feet) from each other. In the interven- 
ing spaces, horizontal and vertical poles are fixed, furnished with a 
trellis of thin branches, and here the apparatus for catching the fish 
is placed, consisting of a large box whose opening is turned toward the 
mouth of the river. This apparatus is called "tainik" in Russian. A 
funnel, 10 inches broad and 1J "sagenes" (10J feet) long, leads to this 
box, open at the top and crossed by planks, on which the fisherman 
stands ready to take out the captured salmou with a small net. 

In the Onega, near the village of Podporojy6, the bar has only one 
row of wooden stakes, on which thick poles are placed, weighted down by 
heavy stones. In the intervening spaces, poles driven in at a distance of 
2 "arsheens" (4 feet 8 inches) from each other, support the trellis. As 
rafts of timber and planks float down the river, bars have been built 2 
u sag*ues" (14 feet) in front of the chief bar, in order to preserve them 
against accidents. These last-mentioned bars are a sort of ramparts 
formed by beams floating on the water and attached to trestles placed 
there for the purpose. In the Onega, no boxes, but sweep-nets, are 
placed on the bars. While the fishermen take up and examine the 
sweep-nets, they are replaced by a net stretched on a wooden frame, so 
as to preveut the fish from passing. 

Near the town of Onega, they use, besides the sweep-nets, a bog-net 
called " kourma." This is placed opposite the opening of the sweep-net, 
and is intended to catch those. salmon which may attempt to escape the 
moment the leap is taken up. 

At the bar of the river Kitcha, another sweep-net is used, which has the 
shape of a truncated pyramid, and consists of a certain number of poles 
fastened in a wooden frame. The loremost part of this pyramid is open 
and is turned toward the opening in the bar. A funnel-shaped net, called 
"gorge," is attached to the frame, having the shape of a quadrangu- 
lar, truncated pyramid. This apparatus is placed on a support by means 
of a winch, and one of the fishermen slips inside to take the salmon* 
The sweep-nets of the bar of the river Souma are called " merschi," and 
consist of several wooden frames resembling the apparatus which has just 
been described. 

Skillful divers are kept at all the bars, who immediately repair any dam- 
age done under the water. These bars are constructed and put in posi- 


tion by special manufacturers, who inspect them during the fishing-sea- 
sou, and take them to pices at the end of the autumn. 

In June and July, they fish for the salmon with seines 6 u sagenes" 
long, (42 feet,) whose bag is 4 u sagenes" (28 feet) long and 3 " sagenes" 
(21 feet) wide. The meshes of the bag are an inch square, and those of 
the wings of the seine from 1 J to 2J inches. These seines are also used 
as stationary nets. The following is the method of fishing: One of the 
fishermen remains on shore and holds the cord attached to the shortest 
wiug. The others gradually lower the net into the sea, standing at a 
distance of several "sagenes" from each other. One-half of the net is 
in a straight line from the shore, while the other half forms a large 
semicircle, whose extremity approaches the portion under water in the 
shape of a hook, in such a manner that there is a passage of 4 
"sagenes" (28 feet) between the halves, which leads into the hook 
above mentioned. As soon as one of the fishermen, who is on the out- 
look in one of the boats, notices that a certain number of salmon have 
entered the net, he detaches from the pole the cord keeping back that 
end of the wing of the net which forms the hook, and takes off the nip- 
pers holding the bolt-ropes to the poles, so that the longer wiug of the 
net becomes free and can be hauled on shore by means of a winch. The 
salmon which have been caught in the hook are in this manner forced 
to enter the bag, which the fishermen afterward draw on shore. 

In the Pefshora Eiver, seines are used measuring from 250 to 400 
" sagenes" (1,750 to 2,800 feet) in length. 

They first place a net on the shore in a perpendicular position and 
fastened to poles, and then a second net is cast so as to form with the 
first the letter T. At the ends, there are curtains of crescent or polygo- 
nal shape, whose concave portion is turned toward what is called the 
" wall," viz, the perpendicular net on the shore. The entrance is be- 
tween two nets which join the stationary nets in a slanting direction. The 
bottom of the apparatus where the fish are caught is likewise formed 
by a net. 

When the salmon approach the shore, they meet the u wall" and fol- 
low it till they enter into the apparatus itself, from which they cannot 

Other stationery nets, simple parts of nets, have only a single "wall,'* 
and are placed on the shore in a perpendicular position. At the mouth 
of the Petshora, one of these "walls" extends as far as five and even 
seven " rersts" from the shore, (two and two-thirds miles to four miles.) 

Every net is from 40 to 50 "sagenes" (280 to 350 feet) long, with 
meshes 3J inches square, sixteen of which make the height of the net. 
A certain number of these nets are tied together, the head bolt-ropes be- 
ing fastened to poles driven in at a distance of 15 "sageues" (105 feet) 
from each other. The nets are examined at the time the tide is out, and 
the salmon caught in the meshes are taken out. These nets are set dur- 
ing the month of July, and taken up in September. They also use the 


drag net, which consist of two or three parallel nets, the inner part of 
which has small meshes, while the two outer have large ones, or a sin- 
gle large-meshed net. 

The floating seines used in the Dwina are from 150 to 200 "sagenes" 
(1,050 to 1,400 feet) long, seldom as loug as 300 "sagenes," (2,100 feet.) 
Those of the Petshora are ususually 200 "sagenes" (1,400 feet) long, 
and those of the other rivers from 80 to 100 '-sagenes," (560 to 700 feet.) 
The depth of the seine is from 28 to 32 meshes, each measuring from 2 
to 2J square inches. Two boats, at some distance from each other, go 
down the stream dragging the net; they finally approach each other, 
and the net is gradually drawn into one of the boats. This fishing is 
carried on from the middle of July till the rivers are frozen. 

Fishing is also carried on in these streams with floating nets in the 
shape of a bag, measuring 2£ "sagenes" in length, (17£ feet.) 

In the dark autumn nights, the salmon, the pike, and the " lavaretus" 
are caught with fish-gigs by torch-light. The fish-gig has the shape of 
a fork with three or four prongs, each terminating in a barbed pike. A 
fire is made on a chafing dish ou the prow of the boat, so that the fish 
at the bottom of the river can easily be seen and speared. They also 
use fish-gigs composed of a whole bunch of prongs. 

Preparing the salmon. — Salmon is mostly placed in the market salted, 
rarely smoked. The salting is done in the following manner : The 
head of the fish is cut oif, the belly is opeued, and the entrails are 
taken out; then it is washed clean und filled with salt ; salt is also put 
under the gills, and the scales are usually rubbed with it. They cal- 
culate, generally, 17£ pounds of salt to 100 pounds of fish. The quan- 
tity of salt to be used depends also on the season of the year and on the 
quality of the fish. The best salmon comes from the Onega and the 
Dw ina. That of the Petshora is larger and fatter, but it is salted so 
little that it becomes worthless. 


The " navaga" appears in large numbers at the mouths of rivers and 
near the sea-shore toward the end of the autumn. This fish, which is 
very voracious, spawns in the autumn. It has an excellent flavor, and 
is sent frozen, in enormous quantities, into the interior of Kussia as far 
as Astrachan, where fish is so plentiful. 

In the villages located on the rivers falling into the White Sea, 
flounders (Pleuronectes flesus) and plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) are, when 
caught, stuck on small poles, and are thus smoked ; while at Mezeue, 
they are salted. In the bay of KandaliVkcha, a small kiud of cod-fish is 
caught, which the fishermen salt exclusively for their own use. 

Implements for catching these fish. — A line of twisted horse-hair is 
attached to a stick or to a piece of lath, from which hangs a piece of 
lead pierced by a strong wire. To the two ends of this wire, and some- 
times also in the middle, thin little horse-hair strings are tied, furnished 


with small fish-hooks. The fisherman makes a hole in the ice, and places 
the apparatus in the water, using small fish as baits. He draws it out 
soon to plunge it in again, for this fishing is very productive, a prac- 
ticed fisherman often taking not less than 2,000 "navagas " in one short 
winter's day. 

To fishing-tackle measuring 40 "sagenes" (280 feet) in length, copper 
or wire hooks are attached by means of horse-hair strings 10 inches in 
length. The hooks are placed at a distance of three-fourths of an "ar- 
sheen" (1 foot 9 inches) from each other, and are baited with small pieces 
of herring, orlavaretus, (Coregonus polkur.) This apparatus is placed in 
the spring near the shore. 


Among the river-fish, the sterlet (Aeipenser ruthenus) holds the first 
rank. During the second decade of the present century, the sterlet first 
commenced to show themselves in theDwina; then, in 1848 and 1849, in 
the Soukhonain large numbers. Thesegprecious fish seem to have come 
to the Dwina from the Kama through the canals. This fishery is, how- 
ever, so far, not very considerable. As regards fresh-water fish, great 
quantities of "naliin," (Lota vulgaris;) of " koriouchka, " (Osmerus 
eperlanus;) of Coregonus and of u miuoga, v (Petromyzon fluviatilis,) are 
caught, these last mentioned chiefly in the Onega, while the "omoul" 
(Coregonus omul) and the u nelma, " (Coregonus leucichthys,) the Siberian 
salmon, are caught more frequently in the Petshora. Every year, about 
100"pouds" (3,600 pounds) of "minoga" (Petromyzon fluviatilis) are 
exported from the town of Onega. Next to the salmon, the "oinoul" 
(Coregonus omul) finds the best market. They are salted in casks contain- 
ing 12 " pouds n (832 pounds) each, reckoning about a pound and a half 
of salt to each " poud," (36 pounds.) 

The above-mentioned fish are either caught with lines, or with station- 
ary nets having meshes from 1J to 2 inches square. In the lakes, seines 
from 60 to 100 u sagenes w (420 to 700 feet) in length are used for catching 
scaty fish. Unfortunately, the spawn is also taken, especially in the lake 
of Koubino. For this purpose, hoop-nets are used with a bag measuring 
4 " sagenes" (28 feet) in length. The meshes of the bag are so narrow 
that a fly could not pass through. Nine of these meshes measure only 
2J inches, while seven meshes of the wing of the seine measure 2£ inches. 
The roe of the " okoune, " (Perca fluviatilis,) and of the "yerschi," (Acer- 
ina vulgaris,) is dried in ovens specially constructed for this purpose, 
and is used as a seasoning dnring Lent. 



The Mourman coast, in Russian Lapland, begins at the Cape of Saints, 
the point of demarkation between the White Sea and the Arctic Ocean, 


and extends as far as the Norwegian river Worghema. On this coast- 
line of eight hundred " versts," (about four hundred and sixty-one miles,) 
there are fine bays offering the fisherman good and safe anchorage. There 
are forty-one of these inlets into which rivers fall. At these points, the 
fishermen have built huts and sheds and scaffolding of various kinds, 
so that the shores of those bays which are frequented most look some- 
what like large villages, busy with the excitement of fishing-lite. The 
fishermen meet there in the spring and remain till the middle of August. 
Other anchoring-places, where the coast is almost barren, are frequented 
only in June and July by those fishermen who come from the populous 
anchoring-places, or by others who come from Archangel on large boats, 
manned by their masters, in order to catch a large number of fish in a 
short time. 

Species of fish found on the Mourman coast. — The fisheries of the 
Mourman coast comprise especially the different varieties of u treska," 
(Oadus morrhua;) the " kambala," (Pleuronectes flesus ;) and the u kam- 
bala," (Pleuronectes platessa ;) a good many salmon also are caught 
near the mouths of the rivers. 

Of the cod, the Oadus morrhua is caught most frequently. It spawns 
in February and in March, and is caught; with baited hooks. For 
bait, the fishermen mostly use Mallotus arcticus*, or Ammodytes Ian- 
cea, or, in case of necessity, Arenicola piscatorum, a sort of thick worm 
dug out from the sand of the beach. The Mallotus arcticus and the 
Ammodytes lancea resemble the Osmerus eperlanus, aud are, like it, easily 
distinguished by a peculiar odor resembling that of the cucumber. 
Among the varieties of the cod, there are the*Gadus ceglefinus, and the 
Gadus mrens, the latter called " saida" by the Russians. 

The Hippoglossus maximus, Ouv., which the Russians call "paltouss," 
usually weighs 2 "pouds," (72 pounds;) but near the North Cape some 
are caught weighing 15 " ponds," (540 pounds.) The small kinds of 
plaice (Pleuronectes platessa, L.) and the tleuronectes limanda have but 
little value as articles of commerce, as likewise the Brosmius vulgaris, a 
sort of cod; the Sebastes norvegicus, Cuv., called by the Russians " mors- 
koi okounej" and the Anarrhichas lupus, L. 

The two kinds of sharks (Scymnus borealis and Selache maxima) are 
caught only for the sake of their liver, which is used in the manufacture 
of cod-liver oil. 

Fishing-implements. — The " palangre" consists of a chief line as 
thick as a man's finger, and from 33 to 42 M sagenes" (231 to 294 feet) 
long, to which small lines of the thickness of a quill are attached at the 
distance of If "arsheens" (4 feet 1 inch) from each other. These lines 
have baited hooks. A succession of lines tied one to the other forms 
what is called-in Russian a " yarous," extending from 6 to 10 kilometers 
in the sea. This '* yarous," or train, is kept by three anchors a little 
above the bottom of the sea. Every anchor is attached by a cord to a 
*A fish similar to the capelin of the North Atlantic coast. 


buoy, the location of which is indicated to the fishermen by a bunch of 
sea-weeds placed vertically on a pole. 

The fishermen of the Mourman coast use only English hooks, which 
they buy from Norwegian merchants from the towns of Wardoe, Wadsoe, 
Hammerfest, and Tromsoe. They cost 8 " roubles" ($5.G0 gold) a thou- 
sand. Every fishing-boat, called u sehniaka," uses not less than 5,000 
hooks a year. These boats are open, and have only one mast, with a 
large sail and six oars. They are from 28 to 40 feet long, their breadth 
is from 6 to 9 feet, and their draught is 4 J feet. Their capacity is from 
150 to 250 "pouds," (5,400 to 9,000 pounds.) The price of one of these 
boats, completely rigged, is GO " roubles," ($42 gold.) The fishermen 
will go thirty " versts" (upward of seventeen miles) out to sea in these 

Before setting out for the cod fisheries, thefishermeu provide them selves 
with a quantity of bait for their hooks, to be used on the following day. 
They begin to bait the hooks some hoars before going to sea, and con- 
tinue doing this till they reach the fishing-place. There a train, " yarous," 
is laid, and every six hours the captured fish are taken out. Returning 
from the fishing-expedition, the nets are hung up to dry on scaffolds 
erected for the purpose, after which boys of from nine to thirteen years 
put the "palangres" again in order ; i. e., disengage the hooks and the 
entangled lines. 

Strong threads each 1 " arsheen" (2 feet 4 inches) long, with steel hooks, 
are suspended from the two ends of a slightly-curved iron rod. The 
hooks are baited. A cord 2 " arsheens w (4 feet 8 inches) long, with a 
piece of lead at the end, is attached to a ring at the middle of the rod. 
Then the whole is tied to a cord 280 feet in length. This implement is 
chiefly used by the Laplanders and by poor fishermen, who have no 
means for buying nets. 

A large iron hook is moved. easily by means of an iron ring with a 
pole, to which an iron chain of 4 "arsheens" (80 inches) is attached. 
This chain is connected with a cable 200 to 300 "sagenes" (1,400 to 
2,100 feet) long, to which a weight of 10 " ponds " (3G0 pounds) is 
attached. Roasted phoca-fat is used for bait. In order to attract the 
sharks, large pieces of fat are placed in the deep sea in perforated boxes. 
The voracious shark rushes with avidity at the choice morsel of fat 
which is baited on the hook, and he is caught. To bring the captured 
shark to the surface of the water, a winch kept on the boat for the 
purpose is employed. When brought up, he is killed; the belly is 
opeued, the liver is taken out, and he is then again thrown into the 
water. But in order that the body may not sink to the bottom and 
become the prey of other sharks, it is inflated with air by means of a 
long tube passed into the inside of the fish. In summer, the shark is 
caught at a depth varying between 100 and 300 u sagcnes," (700 and 
2,100 feet;) sometimes at 100 "versts," (about 57J miles;) while in the 
autumn he is caught near the coast. It often happens that during the 


few hours of an autumn day four fishermen catch sharks enough to 
yield as much as 100 " pouds" (3, GOO pouuds) of liver. The inhabitants 
of Kola catch the shark under the ice. 

The small species of cod called Gadus wrens is chiefly caught in July 
and August, when it rises to the surface of the sea in enormous schools. 
These small fish are caught like a large " carrelet," (a sort of square net 
fixed on a pole,) or globe, which hangs down in the shape of a bag, sur- 
rounded by a bolt-rope of tbe thickness of a fiuger. Every side of the 
net is from 15 to 17 "sagenes" (105 to 119 feet) long, and the meshes are 
an inch square. To the four ends long cords are attached, by means of 
which the fishermen keep the globe up and extended. 

For this operation, four boats are required, each manned by three fish- 
ermen. As soon as a school of cod approaches, the fishermen cast the 
net into the water, first by the side of the school, and then they manage 
to get it underneath. To effect this, the cords attached to the four 
corners must be stretched evenly by the four boats. As soon as the 
net is placed horizontally beneath the school, the fish are frightened by 
yelling, striking the water with the oars, and by throwing stones into 
the sea, so that the fish, desiring to sink to the bottom of the sea, 
become entangled in the net which is below them. When this has been 
done, the four boats lift up the net by a regular movement. This fishery 
is very productive, each boat often receiving as its share about 200 
"pouds" (7,200 pounds) of cod. 

The small fish mentioned above, which resemble the Osmerus cper- 
lanus, and are used as a bait for cod-fishing, are caught with hoop-nets 
30 " sagenes" (210 feet) long. The meshes of the bags of these nets are 
so narrow that 44 of them make 7 square inches. When they have 
caught with the hoop-net 6 " pouds" (216 pounds) of these fish, it is con- 
sidered sufficient to bait about 3,000 hooks on the following day. 

Preparing the various products of the fisheries. — Among the various 
kinds of cod, the Gadus morrhua and the Gadus virens are salted or 
dried, according to the season, while the Gadus ceglefinus is almost 
always salted. The Hippoglossus maximus and the Anarrhicas lupus are 
only salted without cutting off the head, as is done with the different 
kinds of cod. 

The way to prepare the cod is as follows : The head of the fish is cut 
off; then it is split open along the back, so that the vertebral column 
adheres to one-half. Then the belly is opened, and the liver and entrails 
are taken out ; after which it is washed, and brought to the huts to be 
salted or suspended on poles to dry. 

In the huts, the halves of the fish are laid out in rows, the side 
of the skin turned back, and every row is covered with a thick layer of 

They generally reckon from 17 to 20 " pouds" (612 to 780 pounds) of 
salt to 100 "pouds" (3,000 pounds) of cod-fish; and from 7 to 9 "pouds" 
(252 to 324 pounds) of salt to 100 "pouds" (3,600 pounds) of "pilchoni," 


or Gadus ceglifimis. The same quantity of Hippoglossus maximus requires 
25 "pouds" (900 pounds) of salt. On the Mourman coast, Spanish and 
English salt are used, which can be imported duty-free. Wealthy fish- 
ermen usually buy their stock of salt in Norway, and sell some of it 
again to the poorer fishermen. 

The co$ salted in the spring are taken to Archangel in large sail-boats, 
and are much sought after as being freshly salted. The cod salted in 
the summer are carried in large boats, called in Eussian " ladya/ 
which come from Archangel for this purpose. During the time of lad- 
ing, and as long as the boats are at anchor near the fishing-places, the 
fishermen continue to salt, on board their boats, the fish taken duriug 
this time. 

The cod is dried from the beginning of the fishing till the middle of 
May. The Eussian fishermen do not take out the vertebral column as 
the Norwegians do. They split the back of the fish and open the belly, 
so that the two halves are connected only by the tail. The cod dried in 
this manner is by the Eussians called "rochkirka," and by the Norwe- 
gians " roskaer.' 7 In Norway, they also prepare " rondfish," which the 
Eussians call " rountovka." For this purpose, the head of the fish is cut 
off, and the belly is opened, but without flattening the opened fish. 
They are then tied two and two by the tails and hung on poles to dry. 
The Eussians do not prepare what the Norwegians call " klipfish," that 
is, codfish salted and then dried. 

As soon as the drying is done, the fish are taken from the poles, and 
heaped up like wood, placing on the top of each heap boards weighted 
down by stones, in order to flatten those fish which, while drying, may 
have become warped. 

The dried cod is shipped from Archangel to St. Petersburg and to 
the districts of Olonets and Vologda. About 30,000 " pouds » (1,080,000 
pounds) of dried cod arrive every year at St. Petersburg, and scarcely 
5,600 "pouds " (201,600 pounds) of salted cod. The chief market for 
salt cod is the district of Archangel, especially the rural districts. 

The heads of the cod-fish are generally thrown away, but sometimes 
the largest are gathered and spread on rocks to dry. They are taken to 
Archangel, where 50 " kopecks" (35 cents) are paid for a " poud," (36 
pounds.) The chief buyers of this vile food are the peasants of the dis- 
trict of Pinega, who live in the most wretched manner. 

The tongues of the cod-fish are salted separately, 15 pounds of salt 
being used to 100 pounds of tongues. These salted tongues are sold 
at Archangel at 4 " kopecks" (2 J cents) a kilogram. From April till 
the middle of August, every boat can gather, if the fishing is good, 
about 1,600 kilograms of cod-fish tongues. 

The swimming-bladder of the cod also forms an article of trade in 
the shape of fish -glue, after having been carefully washed, laid out, and 
dried. Packed in parcels of from 6 to 10 pounds, this fish-glue usually 
sells at Archangel for only 18 " kopecks" (12£ cents) a kilogram. 


The liver of the cod-fish is gathered in tabs, and exposed to the heat of 
the sun. After ten days, a coating of oil of amber-color is found swim- 
ming at the top, which is skimmed and sold in casks containing from 8 
to 10 " pouds," (288 to 360 pounds.) Three " pouds" (108 pounds) of 
liver usually yield 1 " poud" (36 pounds) of oil. The cod-liver oil sells 
at 2 u roubles" ($1.40 gold) a " poud," (36 pounds.) The residue is 
cooked, and produces a dark-brown oil, which costs less than the first- 
mentioned kind. One " poud n (36 pounds) of this oil is usually obtained 
from 2 " pouds" (72 pounds) of the residue. The dark and burned mat- 
ter remaining at the bottom of the kettles is sold to the Norwegians, 
who pay 1J " roubles" ($1.05 gold) or a bottle of rum for a barrel, and 
use it as grease. 

Organization of the fisheries. — The financial condition of the fisher- 
men, as regards both their mutual relations and their relations to their 
masters, varies according as the fisheries on the Mourman coast are 
carried on by fishermen who have established themselves there perma- 
nently, or by those who only stay there during the summer-months. 

Among the permanent inhabitants of the Mourman coast are the 
inhabitants of the little town of Kola, and the Laplanders who live in 
the neighborhood. Those fishermen who have their own boats and fish- 
ing-implements buy ou credit from the rich merchants of Kola all that 
is required for their households, and pay in kind, i. e., by fish. The 
price of the fish is fixed by the merchant himself, to whom the fishermen 
are bound to deliver the fish caught during the spring-fisheries, which 
season is generally considered as continuing till the 29th of June. If 
their debts have been paid before this time, the merchant pays the fish- 
ermen up to the 29th of June in cash, the price determined beforehand 
for each fish delivered. After that time, the fishermen are at liberty to 
sell their fish to whom they please, and can fix their own price. The 
principal buyers at this time are the fishermen who sail for Norway to 
exchange fish, or those who come from there. In the autumn, the men 
lay iu fish for their own winter-provision ; but as soon as the frosts com- 
mence, they again deliver the frozen fish to the merchants, who send 
them to St. Petersburg. In the middle of December, the fishing stops 
entirely, to recommence three months later. 

The poor inhabitants of the town of Kola, and most of the Laplanders, 
work as day -laborers with the merchants, and receive a certain share of 
the frsh delivered to the merchants. The merchants furnish them fish- 
ing-implements and provisions, but they must generally pay for the boats 
from their own funds. The merchants divide the proceeds of the fish- 
eries with their laborers, and buy their share of fish from them at a price 
fixed beforehand. 

The organization of the fisheries of the " pomortsi," who only fish for 

some months on the Mourman coast, is entirely different. They form 

fishing- associations^ each member receiving a certain portion of the 
4 f 


whole number of fish caught, while the largest portion goes to the head 
of the association, who defrays all the expenses. 

Formerly, the inhabitants of Archangel and Kholmogori likewise fished 
on the Mourman coast ; but at present the fisheries are almost exclusively 
carried on by the fishermen of the district of Kerne and One'ga. Those fish- 
ermen who have the means to build small houses, depots, and sheds ou 
the coast, as well as large and small boats, and to provide fishing-imple- 
ments and the necessary provisions, become independent master-fisher- 
men, and form associations, of which they become the leaders, and which 
are usually composed of four fishermen. The laborers hire themselves 
out, and receive in return part of the fish which have been caught. 

The head of the association engages his laborers in the autumn or the 
beginning of the winter; gives them money to buy provisions for them- 
selves and their families ; and defrays all their expenses. Every head 
of an association has an anchoring-place in some bay on the Mourman 
coast. Thither he sends his laborers. These set out on their long and 
difficult journey about the middle of March. According to an ancient 
custom, the master (head of association) gives them a feast on the eve 
of their departure, and presents each with a piece of cloth sufficient for 
a, pair of gloves. The pilot of the boat, and those laborers who have to 
draw the net, receive two pairs of gloves. 

They reach the village of Kandalachka with tolerable ease, for the 
roads lead through well-known villages, where they are well received 
.and conveyed on sleighs. But from Kandalachka to Kola and the vil- 
lage of Kaznavoloki, a distance of nine hundred "versts," (about five 
hundred and eighteen miles,) they are obliged to perform the journey on 
foot, dragging their clothes and provisions .after them on little sleds. 
From Kaznavoloki to the fishing-places, they travel in sleighs drawn 
by reindeer, at the expense of the master ; and from Kola on boats, 
with wooden runners. They hoist the large sail, and the wind drives 
them rapidly to the open sea. Having arrived at the place of their 
destination, they immediately set to work. They have to remove the 
masses of snow under which the huts and sheds are almost buried, to 
repair the boats, to get the fishing-implements into working-order; and, 
after all this has been done, they go to sea. 

The money- value of the fishing is divided in the following manner : The 
master first takes two-thirds, and the laborers divide the other third, so 
that every laborer receives one-twelfth. If every one of them receives 
100 u roubles" ($70 gold) as his share, the total sum realized by the fishing 
has been 1,200 " roubles," ($840 gold.) The pilot, who has to lead the ex- 
pedition, must keep, order among the laborers, and watch over the inter- 
ests of the master, for which he receives a certain pro rata of the eight- 
twelfths which come to the master, and, moreover, a certain fee, which is 
fixed beforehand, and which varies from 10 to 50 " roubles," ($7 to $35.) 
In this manner, the master's portion amounts to 20 forty-eighths, while 
the combined portions of the four laborers amount to 19 forty-eighths, of 


the whole sum. At first sight, it might be thought that the masters make 
a considerable profit, and that the laborers are working at a disadvan- 
tage. This, however, is not the case ; for the sum which the laborers 
receive is the actual pay for their labor, while the master must deduct 
from his portion a large amount for the boats, fishing-implements, salt, 
&c. These expenses are seldom less than 250 "roubles," ($175 gold,) 
so that, as a general rule, the laborers work on favorable conditions. 

The trade with Norway. — The bartering-trade with Norway has been 
going on since the second half of the last century, and is increasing from 
year to year. The Russian vessels, laden with rye-flour, wheat-flour, mil- 
let, and oat-meal, are obliged to put into one of the four Norwegian 
ports of Wardoe, Wadsoe, Hammerfest, and Tromsoe, to declare their 
cargoes and to pay the duty ; rye-flour, oat-meal, and building-materials 
alone being free of duty. The Russian government, upon its part, au- 
thorizes the citizens and peasants inhabiting the coast of the White Sea 
to export rye-flour and oat-meal to Norway, while the merchants of the 
first guild have the right to trade in other articles. The Norwegian 
authorities are very strict in their watch over the coast. As soon as 
the Russian sailors have been authorized to commence their bartering- 
trade, they sail for the different bays of the coast, where they have least 
competition to fear, and there exchange their cargoes of rye-flour and 
oat-meal for fish. 

The Norwegian government allows the inhabitants of Finnmarken, 
during six weeks, viz, from the 1st of July to the 15th of August, (new 
style,) this bartering-trade with the Russian fishermen, who are also 
allowed to sell their goods for cash only to merchants. But when a 
Russian vessel has been in Norwegian waters for six weeks, it can also 
sell rye-flour to the inhabitants for cash, on condition that the regular 
terms of the bartering-trade are not exceeded, and not less than three 
bags to one buyer. The Russian fishermen find it much to their advan- 
tage to barter their cargoes for fish. They usually receive, for one 
"poud" (36 pounds) of rye-flour, from three to five "ponds" (108 to 
180 pounds) of cod-fish, or four to eight "pouds" (144 to 288 pounds) 
of saida, (a small kind of cod-fish.) The Russian fishermen usuall3 T 
exchange a portion of their rye-flour and their oat-meal for fish, and the 
other portion for walrus-skins. 

From 400 to 500 Russian ships, manned by more than 2,000 men, 
devote themselves every year to this bartering-trade. It may be safely 
asserted that they export annually from Norway about 700,000 " pouds" 
(25,200,000 pounds) of fish. In 1860, the export amounted to a million 
of " pouds," (36,000,000 pounds,) because the cod-fisheries, and especially 
that of the " saida," had been particularly rich. 

The average prices at Archangel during the years from 1852 to 1860 
were as follows : Salt cod, 60 to 75 " kopecks " (42 to 52 cents) per 
"poud," (36 pounds ;) dried cod, 1 "rouble " to 1J "roubles," (70 cents 
to $1.05 gold ;) salted " saida," 20 to 30 " kopecks/(U to 21 cents gold ;) 


dried " sa'ida, 77 1 " rouble" to 1 " rouble" 20 " kopecks/ 7 (70 cents to 
84 cents gold j) cod-liver oil, 2 " roubles " to 2 u roubles 77 20 " kopecks/ 7 
($1.40 to $1.54;) dried cod-fish heads, 10 " kopecks, 77 (7 cents.) 


Between the years 1830 and 1840, Novaya-Zemlya was visited by con- 
siderable numbers of " pouiortsi, 77 inhabitants of Mezene, and fishermen 
from the Gulf of the Petshora, and every year large sailing-vessels 
brought thence rich cargoes of salmon or trout, of seals and walruses. 
After that, the product of the fisheries and of the chase diminished ; 
the animals left their usual places of abode and removed to others less 
accessible. The fishermen consequently ceased going to Novaya-Zemlya, 
so that in 1850 aud 1860 only five vessels sailed for that group of islands. 

The northern island of Novaya-Zenilya is most frequented by fisher- 
men, while those who have stroug and well-equipped vessels venture 
as far north as Matoschkine. The arrangements are made so as to ar- 
rive toward the end of June at Novaya-Zemlya, where the fishermen 
commence their work by hunting the seals and the walrus, and after- 
ward devote themselves to fishing for the common trout, the variety 
called Salmo alpinus, which the Eussians call "golets. 77 This little fish, 
which only weighs four pounds, enters the rivers in large numbers dur- 
ing the spawning-season, when it is caught by means of small bars and 
leaps. They are fished for in the sea with seines and stationary nets. 
Every boat usually contains three seines and six stationary nets. The 
" golets 77 fishery is always productive; for during its stay in these lati- 
tudes, every boat catches about 300 "pouds 77 (10,800 pounds) of this 
fish. A " poud ' 7 (36 pounds) of salted " golets 77 costs 3 " roubles, 77 ($2.10.) 
In 1830, and during the three following years this fishery was so extraor- 
dinarily abundant that the fishermen were obliged to throw a large 
number of " golets 77 into the sea, because they had not salt enough. In 
1852, the fisheries were also productive ; the stationary nets contained 
on an average 20 " pouds 77 (720 pounds) of this fish, and one fisherman 
caught 480 " pouds 77 (17,280 pounds) in a single day. 

The "golets 77 fishery ceases in the middle of August, and the fisher- 
men sail for the "Iron Gate, 77 the narrow channel which separates the 
northern island of Novaya-Zemlya from the island of Va'igatch, where 
they hunt the walrus. 

The fishermen always try to be at home again in September; most of 
them dread the idea of spending the winter in Novaya-Zemlya, on account 
of its severe and unhealthy climate. Some men, however, from the Gulf 
of the Petshora, always spend the winter there. 

The species sought. — Seven different kinds of animals living in the 
sea are hunted on the northern coast of Eussia for their fat and their 
skin. These are the "nerpa,' 7 (Phoca anneallta and Phoca vitulina, L.;) 
the "zayats, 77 (Phoca barbata, Nils.;) the "lysoune, 77 (Phoca grcenlandica, 
Mull. ;) the " tevyak, 77 (Cystophora cristata, Nils.;) the " morje, 77 (Trichecus 


rosmarus;) and the " belouga," (Delphinapterus leucas. Pall.;) i. e., five 
kinds of seals, the walrus, and the white orca. 

The walrus is caught on the coasts of Novaya-Zemlya and the islands 
of Vaigatch and Kalgouyew ; the " tevyak " on the Mourmau coast, very 
rarely in the White Sea ; the orca is caught in the White Sea by ineaus 
of nets; the small seals and the u zayats " are shot with guns from the 
coast, or are killed with boat-hooks when they assemble in flocks on the 
ice with the " lysounes." 

b. Seal-hunting. — On the eastern coast of the White Sea, the " Winter 
Coast," as it is called, and in the bays of the Dwina and the Mezene, and 
on the coast of Kanine, they chiefly hunt the species of phoca called 
Phoca groenlandica. This phoca is larger than the kind found in the 
Caspian Sea, and usually yields six "pouds" (216 pounds) of fat. It is 
killed on the ice. 

These animals live in the high regions of the Polar Seas from May 
till September, and only a few occassionally show themselves in the 
White Sea ; but, later, they make their appearance in the gulfs and 
bays of the Arctic Ocean, where the females give birth to their young, 
and feed them. These animals pair in the beginning of February, on the 
ice in the White Sea, and especially in the Gulf of the Dwina. 

At this time the hunting commences on the u Winter Coast" and lasts 
till the end of March. 

The huntsmen carefully observe from the eoast the movment of the float- 
ing ice. High wooden towers are erected for this purpose all along the shore, 
whence the observers watch the horizon with telescopes and when the have 
discovered an encampment of phocse, they decide whether it is possible 
to get to them, and whether it is worth while to give them chase. Small 
hunting-sheds are also built along the coast, each of which can accoin- 
date as many as twenty huntsmen. As soon as the phocse show them- 
selves at a short distance from the shore, the huntsmen venture on the 
floatingice, drawing a small boat after them,&nd they kill the young phoca? 
by blow with their boat-hooks, and the old ones by gun- shots. In order to 
approach the phocse as near as possible, the hunters make use of the follow- 
ing ruse : They make themselves, as it were, invisible by muffling up 
in long and large and white shirts, and by advancing slowly and noise- 
lessly on the snow. When the chase is over, the dead animals are at 
once skinned and dragged on shore. They usually kill only those which 
they can take with them for the wind easily drives the ice far away, 
and the booty would be lost to the huntsmen, who themselves are often 
exposed to the greatest dangers. 

This chase takes place on the "Winter Coast," extending over a space 
of four hundred " versts," (two hundred and thirty miles ;) and numerous 
huntsmen meet there from the districts of Archangel, Pinega, and Me- 
zene. The principal place of meeting, and at which generally two thou- 
sand huntsmen assemble, is called Kedy, and is located twelve ;i versts " 
(about seven miles) from Cape Yoronov. The huntsmen have built at 


this place about one hundred huts, where there is constant excitement 
from February till the end of March, while during the rest of the year 
these huts are deserted. 

About the middle of March, the young pliocse are large enough to 
leave the ice and swim toward the open sea, whither the old ones do not 
follow them. They assemble in the Gulf of Mezene, where they rest on 
the ice and pair. The pieces of ice in the gulf are sheltered from the 
wind, and are not carried about by the waves, although they melt a 
little, especially during the rainy periods. 

Numerous societies of huntsmen assemble in the beginning of April 
at the mouth of the river Koulo'i, in order to follow for several weeks 
the chase of the phocse on the ice. They use sailing-vessels 22 feet 
long, with an iron-plated bottom. Every vessel is manned by seven 
huntsmen, is completely equipped, and furnished with provisions and 

The huntsmen all leave the shore at the same time; and, having 
reached the floating ice, they draw their vessels on the ice, and there 
establish a vast encampment. The younger and more active huntsmen 
are sent out to reconnoiter. Provided with snow-shoes, they hasten in 
all directions to search for the phocse. As soon as they observe a flock, 
they advise the other huntsmen of the fact, and these all run toward 
the spot, drawing their boats after them. Having arrived within gun- 
shot distance, the most expert are placed in the front rauk and com- 
mence the chase; for every shot must kill, and not merely wound, lest 
the cries of the wounded phocse frighten the whole flock and make them 
speed away. The animals which are killed are then placed in the boats, 
and the huntsmen return to the shore — sometimes on the ice, sometimes 
on the open sea — to deposit there the result of the chase, and bring new 
provisions to the comrades who had been left there. 

The huntsmen usually receive from their master, provisions and cloth- 
ing for the whole season, and must give him in return half or even two- 
thirds of all the animals which have been killed. The more hardened 
and expert a huntsman is, the larger is his share. Every society of 
twenty huntsmen elects a "starosta," (the old one,) whose duty it is to 
guard the coast and prepare the food, without receiving for this a larger 
share than the other huntsmen. 

On the western coast of the White Sea, (called the Terski coast,) the 
phocse-chase is not as productive as on the eastern coast, because the 
pieces of ice, driven toward the north, float along the shore. Scarcely 
more than 15,000 "pouds" (540,000 pounds) of phocaB are caught there 
every year. 

In these latitudes, the principal meeting-place of the huntsmen is six- 
teen " versts" (about nine miles) north of the river Pouoi, and is called 
Deviataya. Huts are built here, and about five hundred huntsmen 
assemble, who form themselves into societies. Every society is composed 
of a master and three huntsmen. While one of the members of the 


society remains on shore with his sleigh and his reindeer, the other three 
venture on the pieces of ice to discover the phocae, which are sleeping 
there. Every huntsman wears over his clothes a short cloak of reindeer- 
skin, called '• sovik," and has on his feet large boots lined with fur. At 
the end of a long strap passed over his shoulder he draws a small boat, 
weighing 20 kilograms. A game-bag with provisions is attached to 
his belt. Flis gun on his shoulder, and having in his hand a long stick, 
with an iron point, he rapidly and skillfully advances, by means of his 
snow-shoes, over the vast fields of snow and ice. The hunter who leads 
directs his course by a mariner's compass, and with his iron-pointed 
stick constantly tries the firmness of the ice. He acts as guide, aud 
his two comrades follow him in single file, drawing their boat alter 
them. When they have arrived at an expanse of water where phocae 
are swimming, two of the huntsmen fire, while the third pushes the 
boat into the water in order to take up the dead animals, which he 
hoists into the boat by means of a boat-hook. 

The chase commences early in the morning, and the huntsmen do not 
return to their hut till evening ; a flag hoisted on the shore indicating 
to them its position. 

b. The chase of the white orca. — The white orca, (Belphinapterus leucas, 
Pall.,) in Russian " belouga," (the fishers of the Caspian Sea also call 
the great sturgeon " belouga,") is found nearly all the time in the White 
Sea in large numbers, but chiefly in June and July. The young orcae 
begin to swim in May ; their color is a bluish-gray, while that of the old 
ones is yellowish. 

The orcae are caught in all the bays of the Polar Sea, especially on 
the Kanine coast near Mezene ; in the White Sea; and at the mouths 
of the Petshora. The fishing-implements used are seines joined together 
and fish-gigs. 

In the summer, when the weather is calm and beautiful, large flocks 
of orcae can be seen approaching the shallow places near the shore, or 
between the numerous islands of the White Sea. Several fishermen 
associate for hunting orcae, each one furnishing a boat, and a large seine 
made of cords of the thickness of a finger, the meshes being 10J inches 
square. The length of the net is 125 " sagenes," (875 feet,) and its 
depth G " sagenes," (42 feet.) The upper bolt-rope is furnished with 
wooden floats 1 "arsheen" (2 feet 4 inches) long, and placed at the dis- 
tance of 2 "arsheens" (4 feet 8 inches) from each other; the lower bolt- 
rope has no ballast. These nets weigh about 23 u pouds," (828 pounds,) 
and cost 150 u roubles," ($105 gold.) 

A society has usually eight boats, each being manned by four fisher- 
men besides the master, to whom the boat and the seine belong. The 
fishing commences at the end of June. The fishermen cast anchor near 
a group of islands, and wait impatiently for the watchmen to give the 
signal that a flock of orcae is approaching. As soon as the signal is 
given, they row rapidly toward the place designated, taking good care, 


however, not to fish in deeper water than 5 u sagenes," (35 feet,) lest the 
net, which is only 6 "sageues" (42 feet) deep, as has been said before, 
should prove useless. 

At first, the boats row without order ; but as soon as they approach the 
orcae, they place themselves in the following manner : the two middle 
boats approach each other and remain in the rear, while the others ad- 
vance to the right and left, keeping at a distance of 120 " sageues " (840 
feet) from each other, i. e., almost the length of the seine. In order that 
the fishing should be successful, it is necessary that the boats should 
advance, remaining always two and two, at the same depth ; afterward, 
they must halt at some distance from the ore®, and cast all the nets at 
the same time, after having tied them to each other. In this manner, 
the orca3 are surrounded, and endeavor in vain to break through. The 
circle is constantly growing narrower, and the orcse are finally har- 
pooned with fish-gigs having short handles, which are easily detached. 
The iron of the fish-gig is not beyond the fisherman's control, as it is 
joined to the hand by a cord used for pulling up the instrument and 
the pierced orca. 

If the orcse enter into a small bay, their retreat is cut off by means of 
large stationary seines, and they are easily captured. 

Hunting the walrus and the polar bear. — About a dozen sailing-ves- 
sels devote themselves habitually to hunting the walrus from Cape 
Kanine to the mouth of the Kara. Every boat can carry 500 M pouds," 
(18,000 pounds,) and is manned by ten huntsmen, mostly inhabitants of 
Mezene and the Petshora Basin ; sometimes, also, by well-to-do Samo- 
yeds. The " Zyriany " and the poor Samoyeds serve among the Rus- 
sians as laborers for very small pay and food. 

In order not to expose these badly-built and badly-rigged boats to the 
dangers of the ocean, they are transported to the open sea, a distance 
of at least three hundred " versts w (one hundred and seventy-three 
miles) on sleighs drawn by reindeer. The expenses of this transporta- 
tion, which are considerable, are repaid to the master, as he, besides 
receiving his share for each boat, receives three more portions of the 
whole product of the chase, which is divided into ten portions. The wal- 
rus-chase, in general, is but slightly productive. Scarcely more than 
six hundred of these animals are killed during a year. There are not 
sufficient funds to equip boats and to pay skillful and experienced 

The polar bears live on the ice, on the islands, or on the coast. An 
experienced huntsman lets the animal approach within ten paces before 
he fires. If the bear is only wounded, the huntsman draws his hunting- 
knife, avoids the attack of the furious animal by leaping aside, and the 
moment he finds himself behind the bear he kills him. Nothing is more 
curious than the guns with which these hardy huntsmen attack the 
polar bears ; they are simply manufactured by the village-smith ! If 
the gun is not discharged, and the bear escapes, the huntsman values 


his loss at 15 "roubles," ($10.50;) but if the same accident happens with 
a walrus, his loss amounts to 60 " roubles," ($42.) It is not necessary 
to remark that the huntsman is often in danger of losing his life. 

Preparing the oil. — From the fat of the animals which are hunted 
or fished for in the sea, as well as from the blubber of the whales which 
sometimes approach the coast of Lapland when the tide comes in, and 
which remain on dry land when the tide goes out again, an oil is pre- 
pared, which forms an important article of commerce. 

In nearly all the coast- villages of the White*8ea, there are oil-manu- 
factories. The oil is prepared in the following manner : The fat, which 
has been secured by scraping, is thrown into large tubs and well shaken ; 
the tubs are then exposed for some days to the heat of the sun. After 
this time, a layer of clear, limpid oil forms upon the surface, its color 
being yellowish ; this is the first quality. The second quality is obtained 
by melting the residue of the scraped fat with the pieces of cut fat in a 
caldron containing a small quantity of water; this oil has a dark-brown 
color. The caldrons used for this purpose generally hold from 30 to 60 
"pouds" (1,080 to 2,160 pounds) of fat; but the Archangel merchants, 
who send large quantities abroad, have in some villages caldrons holding 
from 80 to 120 " pouds " (2,880 to 4,326 pounds) of fat. In from ten to 
twelve hours, the whole mass is melted, and the oil is poured into casks 
holding from 20 to 32 "pouds," (720 to 1,152 pounds.) A " poud" of fat 
of the white orca usually yields 32 pounds of oil, while a "poud" 
of fat yields only 30. As regards the fat itself, the walrus, on an 
average, yields from 10 to 28 " pouds," (360 to 1,028 pounds;) the white 
orca, from 15 to 25 "pouds," (540 to 930 pounds;) and of the diiferent 
species of seal, the Cystophora cristata yields 9 " pouds," (324 pounds;) 
the Phoca grcenlandica, from 4 to 6 " pouds," (144 to 216 pounds ;) the 
Phoca annellata, 3 "pouds," (108 pounds;) and young seal with white 
fur, 1£ "pouds," (54 pounds.) 

Preparing and cutting the slcins. — The skins of the Phoca grcenlan- 
dica are bought by some merchants of Archangel, who salt them down 
in casks and send them abroad. These casks contain from 50 to 80 skins 
each, and they usually reckon from 2 J to 4 pounds of salt to each skin. 
Most of the skins of seals, orcse, and walruses are used in the vil- 
lages themselves. 

When the skins have remained in the water for some time, and have 
lost all their hair, they are dried and tanned, and straps are made of 

The skin of a large orca is cut into four straps, two from the back and 
two from the sides ; that of a small orca, into three, two from the 
sides and one from the back. These straps are tanned and made into 
soles of boots and shoes and into harness. The skin of an orca can be 
made into from four to six pairs of reins and twelve pairs of soles. 

From the skin of the Phoca grcenlandica 70 "sagenes" (490 feet) can 
be cut. 


The huntsmen derive the greatest profit, however, from the skins of 
the walruses. The Russian fishermen, especially the " promortsi," barter 
rye-flour very advantageously in Norway for walrus-skins. They usually 
get for 10 "pouds" (360 pounds) of flour two walrus-skins, which they 
sell at Archangel for 10 "roubles" ($7 gold) apiece. 

The monks of the convent of Solovetsk prepare the skin of the Phoca 
annellata in an admirable manner. The skins of polar bears cost 8 
" roubles" ($5.60) apiece at Archangel. They are warm and durable, 
but they are seldom tanned. 


The Caspian Sea, with an area of 147,000 square miles, furnishes, 
perhaps, a greater quantity of fish than any other basin in Europe hav- 
ing the same extent. This also applies to the rivers falling iuto it: the 
Ural, the Volga, the Terek, the Koura, and the Sefid-Roud. It can be 
proved that the amount of fish caught is constantly increasing. Not 
less than 11,000,000 "pouds" (390,000,000 pounds) of fish are annually 
caught in the waters of the Caspian Sea. 

The cause of this great abundance of fish must be found in the 
character of the water, which is but little salty, in the shallowness of 
the sea, and in the existence of numerous excellent spawning-places, 
especially in the immense delta of the Volga. 

In the northern basin of the Caspian Sea, where the most important 
fisheries are located, the sea is shallowest, the greatest depth being about 
8 u sagenes," (56 feet.) The southern and middle portions of this sea are, 
however, very deep; but no fishing is carried on there. In the northern 
basin, the water is scarcely brackish, often entirely sweet, particularly 
when there is a north wind, which carries the waters of the Ural and 
the Volga far out into the sea. The rivers falling into the Caspian Sea 
carry into it great masses of organic matter, which furnishes abundant 
food for the fish. 

The delta of the Volga forms a vast net-work of long, narrow, and 
shallow lakes, called "limans," which are joined to each other, or to va- 
rious branches of the Volga, by a large number of small water courses ; 
and here the fish find a peaceful retreat during the spawning-season. 


The cartilaginous fish or sturgeons are principally found in the Cas- 
pian Sea and its tributaries, amoug which the Volga, with its immense 
basin, is the most important. The Russian fishermen call these fish 
"red fish." In the Caspian Sea and its tributaries, the following species 
of fish are found, of which the Russian name is always given first. 

1. "Belouga," (Acipenser huso,) with an average weight of 3 "pouds," 
(108 pounds,) but frequently weighing from 20 to 25 "pouds," (720 to 
900 pounds,) and occasionally as much as from 40 to 60 "pouds," (1,440 
to 2,160 pounds.) In the year 1769, a " belouga" was caught in a bay 


not far from the mouth of the Ural, weighing 70 "pouds," (2,520 pounds,) 
and containing 25 "pouds" (900 pounds) of roe. In 1813, one was caught 
in the Volga, near Saratow, weighing 80 "pouds," (2,880 pounds.) and 
containing 16 u pouds" (376 pounds) of roe. In 1843, one of 60 M pouds " 
(2,160 pounds) was caught; and, in 1849, one of 40 " pouds," (1,440 
pounds,) measuring 2 " sagenes" (14 feet) in length. In 1854, a sturgeon 
was caught near Kazan and Nijni-Novgorod, weighing 60 "pouds," 
(2,160 pounds,) whose head alone weighed 17 "pouds," (612 pounds;) 
and another weighing 53 " pouds," (1,908 pounds.) In 1871, a " belouga" 
weighiug 63 "pouds" (2,268 pounds) was caught near Derbent at a 
depth of 130 " sagenes," (910 feet.) 

2. "Osetre," (Acipenser Guldenstddtii.) Its average weight is 30 
pounds ; but many are caught in the Volga measuring from 4 to 6 feet, 
and weighing from 1 to 3 " pouds," (36 to 108 pounds,) sometimes weigh- 
ing even 5 "pouds," (180 pounds,) and measuring from 6 to 9 feet in 
length. This fish is exceedingly prolific. M. Baer, a member of the 
academy, has found 600,000 eggs in one large-sized fish, and 260,000 in 
a medium-sized one. 

3. " S6vriouga," (Acipenser stellatus.) Average weight, 15 pounds. 
It is caught in enormous quantities in the Koura, most of them weigh- 
ing about 1 " poud," (36 pounds.) 

4. "Chyp," (Acipenser Schypa.) In the Ural. Weight, 1J "pouds," (54 

5. " Sterliad," (Acipenser ruthenus,) sterlet. Two feet long ; weight, 
from 15 to 20 pounds. 

6. "Som," (Silurus glaniSy) Wels; sheat-fish. Length, from 3 to 6 feet; 
weight, as much as 6 " pouds," (216 pounds.) It is very common in the 
Koura, where it sometimes attains a weight of 8 "pouds," (288 pounds,) 
and a length of 1£ " sagenes," (10 J feet.)* 

7. " Belorybitsa," the "nelma" of the northern rivers, (Goregonus leu- 
cichthys, Guldenst.,) an excellent fish, also known as the white Siberian 
salmon, is found in the Volga, rarely in the Ural, and not at all in the 
T6rek and Koura. It weighs from 12 to 17 pounds, sometimes as much 
as 30 pounds, and measures 3 feet in length. 

8. "Lososs," (Salmo salar,) salmon. Is common in the Terek and 
the Koura, very rare in the Volga, and never found in the Ural. 

9. " Ch^tnaya," (Aspius clupeoides, Pall.) Is only found in the Koura 
and the T6rek. 

10. " Sazane," (Cyprinus carpio, L.,) carp. In the Caspian Sea and 
near the mouths of the Volga. Often from 3 to 4 feet long, and weigh- 
ing from 40 to 50 pouuds. Average weight, from 10 to 17 pounds. 

11. "Karass," (Carassius vulgaris,) crucian carp. Common in the 
Volga. The largest are one foot long, and weigh 5 pounds. 

12. " Soudak," (Lucioperca sandra,) saudre. From 15 to 20 pounds. 

*Tkis is the European representation of the fresh-water catfish or bull-heads of the 
United States.— S. F. B. 


13. "Bersche," (Lucioperca volgensis.) Five pounds. 

14. u Linn," (Tinea vulgaris,) tench. The largest measure 2 feet in 
length, and weigh 7 pounds. 

15. U Ousatche," (Barbus obtusirostris, Yakovlew.) Eare in the Volga ; 
common in the Koura. 

16. " Piskar," (Gobio fluviatilis, Cuv.) Three inches long. 

17. " Lestche," (Abramis brama.) From 8 to 10 pounds. 

18. "Yersche,'' (Acerina cernua.) Usually 7 inches, but sometimes 
reaching 10 inches. 

19. "Okoune," (Perca fluviatilis,) perch. From 3 to 4 pounds. 

20. " Sin^tse," (Abramis ballerus, Cuv.) Found chiefly in the Volga ; 
10 inches long, and weighing rarely more than half a pound. 

21. " Sopa," (Abramis sopa, Pall.) Common in the Volga. 

22. " Goustera," (Blicca bieerna.) Thirteen inches ; 2 pounds. 

23. " Tchekhonne," (Pelecus cultratus, Agass.) Two feet; 2J pounds. 

24. " Oukle'ika," (Albumus lucidus, Heck.) From 4 to 6 inches. 

25. u Jerekh" and "cheresper," (Aspiusrapax.) Length,2£ feet; weight, 
16 pounds. 

26. " Taranne," (Scardinius eryihropMUalmus, L.) Scarcely a foot 
long ; common in the Volga. " Taranne" is the collective name of sev- 
eral species of Leuciscus and Abramis; but, in the Don and the Azov Sea, 
the name " Taranne" is only given to Leuciscus Heckelii, Nordm. 

27. "Vobla," (Leuciscus rulilus, L.) Length, 1J feet; weight from 2 
to 3 pounds, and found, in the Volga in vast numbers. 

28. u Koutoume," u Wyrezoub," (Leuciscus Friesii, Nordm.) Common in 
the Sefid-Roud, the Koura, and the Terek ; very rare in the Volga, and 
never found in the Ural. 

29. " Stchouka," (Esox lucius,) pike. From 30 to 40 pounds ; as much 
as 3 J feet in length. 

30. "Beschenka," (Alosa pontica.) 

31. "Jeleznitsa," (Alosa caspica,) Astrachan herring. 

These two last-mentioned species are known by the name of "Astra- 
chan herring; " usually from 2 to 2J pounds, and sometimes 4. Length, 
1£ feet. They are very common in the Volga, which they ascend very 
far. Some are caught even at Koliazino, in the district of Tver. They 
are not found in the Ural, the T^rek, the Koura, and the Sefid-Roud. 
The Azov Sea, the Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea contain no species 
of Clupea, Val. 

32. "Podouste," (Chondrostoma nasus, Val.;) Impounds. 

33. " Minoga," (Petromyzon fluviatilis,) Lamprey. Found in large num- 
bers in the Koura and the Terek; common in the Volga below Astra- 
chan; and, since 1870, very common near the towns of Ynotayeosk and 
Tchornoi Yar ; and, since 1855, in immense masses in the district of 

Of these fish, those which furnish the principal articles of trade are 
the Acipenser, the Silurus, and, of scaly fish, the Lueioperca, the Abramis, 


the Alosa, the Leuciscus rutilus, and the Cyprinus carpio, L. The Core* 
gonus leuciclithys and the Salmo salar are less important, and still less the 
Esox lucins and other small scaly fish. Pickled lamprey (Petromyzon 
fluviatilis) might form a considerable article of commerce, but, on the 
Terek, it is entirely neglected, and, on the Koura, it is dried and used 
as candles. 

The first establishment for pickling lampreys was opened in the city 
of Tsaritsyn, after the close of the year 1871; and up to February, 1873, 
700 casks, containing about 1,200,000 lampreys, had arrived at St. Pe- 
tersburg, weighing not less than 56 kilograms (about 123 pounds) to 
the thousand, and being exceedingly well pickled ; they are sold from 
12 to 14 "roubles" ($8.42 to $9.80 gold) a thousand. 


At Astrachan, the Volga is usually free from ice from the beginning 
of April, and the different kinds of fish arrive from the Caspian Sea 
about that time. The first to arrive is the Scardinius erythr ophthalmias, 
L.; the "vobla," {Leuciscus rulilus,) chased there during its capricious 
leaps from the water by the voracious "belouga"; this is followed by 
the Esox lucius, pike; then by the A bramis, and by the Lucioperca, 
sandre. From the 20th of April till the 5th of May, the Alosa, or so- 
called herrings, appear in immense schools ; then the " sevriouga," (Aci- 
penser stellatuSj) sturgeon; the Silurus glanis, Wels; the Cyprinus carpio, 
L., carp; and, finally, £he> Acipenser Guldenstadtii, sturgeon. 

Most of the scaly fish spawn in April or in May, aud for this purpose 
seek the shallow water, where there is but little current, aud where aquatic 
plants are numerous, and where fishing is strictly prohibited from the 15th 
of April till the 15th of May, in order that the spawning-process may not 
be interrupted. The salmon and the "clemaya," (Aspius clupeo'ides,) 
which are caught in large numbers in the Terek and in the Koura, usu- 
ally spawn in August and September, the first-mentioned on sandy bot- 

The spawning-season of the sturgeon commences in the Volga in June 
and lasts till the end of July ; in the Ural, it lasts from the middle of 
April till the middle of June. They prefer a hard and stony bottom. 
Only three hundred and eighty "versts" (two hundred and nineteen 
miles) above Astrachan, near Sarepta, the bottom of the river is of this 
character. In order to let the different kinds of sturgeon enjoy the rest 
which they require, the fishing regulations forbid fishing in the Volga, 
as well in the river as in its branches, from the 15th of May till the 15th 
of July. Nevertheless, fishing is permitted exceptionally, to supply the 
local want, from the 15th of June till the 15th of July, between the Cas- 
pian Sea and the town of Tchornoi-Yar, two hundred and twenty -five 
"versts" (one hundred and twenty-nine miles) above Astrachan, with 
floating nets 90 "sagenes" (630 feet) long and 1 "sagene" (7 feet) deep. 

Careful observations have shown that during the time immediately 


preceding the spawning-season, the sturgeons eat nothing, while after 
spawning they are exceedingly voracious. In the rivers, the young stur- 
geon feed on the larvae of insects and small shell-fish, and, in the sea, on 
small crabs and shell-fish. The little " belouga" is an exception, feeding 
on other fish. The common sturgeon, the " sevriouga," and the " ster- 
liad," (Acipenser ruthenus,) also feed on shell-fish. When the sturgeons 
are one year old, they leave the rivers and go into the sea, to return as 
soon as they are able to spawn. 

A very peculiar phenomenon in the Ural is the winter sleep of fish, 
especially of the sturgeon. From the end of June, the different kinds 
of sturgeon as well as scaly fish come to the Ural for the second time. 
For some time they cm be seen swimming and playitg in the stream, 
but as soon as the water grows cold this vivacity disappears; they seek 
the deep places, ("yatoves,") in which the bed of the river abounds, and 
hide there as soon as the surface is frozen. In their state of torpor, these 
fish secrete a viscous matter, which formes a thin layer over their whole 
body. The fishermen call this the " cloak v of the fish. This torpor, or 
sleep, of the fish is caused by severe cold and want of air under the 
water, and is therefore a consequence of the excessive weakening of the 
respiration. The fish eat nothing during this state, for nothing is found 
in their stomach but the viscous matter spoken of above. The great 
sturgeon alone (Acipenser huso) seems to take food during his winter- 
sleep, for some have been caught having scaly fish in their stomach. 

The deep places, or " yatoves," of the Ural are from 7 to 8 " eagenes " 
(252 to 278 feet) deep, and the fish there pile themselves upon each other 
in thick layers. According to the account of experienced fishermen , stur- 
geons there associate only with sturgeons, and scaly fish with their own 
kind, never intermingling : the u sinetse n (Abramis ballerus) is the only 
scaly fish which has been found among the sturgeons. 

Watchmen posted near the u yatoves," every one of which has its own 
name, notice exactly in what quantities the fish seek refuge there, and 
of which kind the fishing will be most productive. These watchmen 
develop a most astonishing sagacity in this respect. 


Pallas, who visited the shores of the Caspian Sea in 1773, speaks of 
the immense quantities of fish in this sea. He says, in addition to other 
things, that, in the spring in the Koura, near the bar of Salyan, 15,000 
sturgeons were frequently caught in one day ; and that when the fishing 
was interrupted for one day only, the river, whose depth is 4 " arsheens," 
(80 inches,) was, at every bar, filled with a vast number of fish, piling 
themselves one upon the other to such a degree that the topmost had. 
their backs out of the water. At that time, there was a bar at Gour- 
yew, at the mouth of the Ural. It is related that at this place schools 
of sturgeon rushed at the bar in countless numbers, and would have 
upset it if the Cossacks had not driven them to flight by cannon-shots 


Similar stories are, it is true, not related in later times, but it is unde- 
niable that the result of the fisheries during the years from 1820 to 1830 
was perfectly enormous, and that this is not infrequently the case in our 
time. Thus, in 1826, during 12 consecutive days, an average of 15,000 
sturgeon a day were caught, mostly 44 seVriougas " and common stur- 
geons, (Acipenser Giildenstadtii,) at the fishing establishment ("vataga") 
of Providence, ("Bojii promysl,") on the Koura, fifteen " versts" (about 
eight miles) from the mouth of this river. There were not hands enough 
to carry on the work, so that an immense quantity of fish spoiled on the 
spot, and 40,000 of them had to be cast into the water. This u vataga " 
(fishing-establishment) was visited, in 1855, by the " Imperial commis- 
sion for examining the fisheries of the Eussian Empire." The commis- 
sion was led by M. Baer, from the Imperial Academy of Sciences at St. 
Petersburg, the statistical work being confided to M. Danilevsky, while 
I had charge of the technical part. 

I observed many a time that ducks and other aquatic birds, which, in 
the river Koura, swam on the surface of the water, fell victims to the 
voracity of the Siluri. Whenever a bird killed by a shot from a hunts- 
man fell into the water, it was immediately seized and devoured by these 
enormous fish. 

Every day from 3,000 to 5,000 u seVriougas" were brought to the " va- 
taga," (fishing-establishment,) where the following quantities were 
caught annually : about 15,000 "b61ougas;" 30,000 common sturgeon, 
{Acipenser Guldenstddtii ;) 250,000 " s6vriougas f and 230,000 Siluri. 

Large numbers of the different species of sturgeon are also caught in 
the Ural, the T6rek, and the Volga. The wealth of the northern basin 
of the Caspian Sea in fish is almost inexhaustible. More than 100,000 
nets and at least 15,000,000 of hooks are here employed for sturgeon- 
fishiug alone, and thousands of fishing-boats are continually engaged in 
this occupation. Immense nets are in constant use in the Ural, the 
Volga, and in the delta of this latter river; and it is no rare occurrence 
that at one single haul 40,000 "lestche" (Abramis brama) are caught, or 
150,000 "voblas," (Leuciscus ruiilus, L.,) or 200,000 "jeleznitsa," (Alosa 


The quantity and value of the fish which are caught every year in 
the Caspian Sea and its principal tributaries, as well as the number of 
seals captured in this sea, can be estimated only approximately. This 
estimate amounts annually to the following : 

44 Belouga," (Acipenser Huso,) 475,000 "pouds," (17,100,000 pounds ;) 
value, 1,288,000 44 roubles," ($901,600 gold.) 

44 0setre" (Acipenser Guldenstddtii) and 44 Chyp,» (Acipenser Schypa,) 
405,000 "pouds," (14,580,000 pounds j) value, 1,620,000 "roubles," 
($1,134,000 gold.) 


"Sdvriouga," (Acipenser stellatus,) 65,000 "pouds," (2,340,000 pounds;) 
value, 1,962,000 "roubles," ($1,373,400 gold.) 

" Sterliad," (Acipenser ruthenus,) 50,750 " pouds," (1,827,000 pounds ;) 
value, 275,000 "roubles," ($192,500 gold.) 

" Sazane," (Gyprinus carpio, L.,) 200,000 " pouds," (7,200,000 pounds;) 
value, 120,000 "roubles," ($84,000 gold.) 

" Soudan" (Lucioperca sandra) and " Stcbouka," (Esox lucius,) 2,650,000 
"pouds," (95,400,000 pounds;) value, 2,450,000 "roubles," ($1,715,000 

" Lestche," {Abramis brama,) 1,375,000 "pouds," (49,500,000 pounds;) 
value, 1,275,000 " roubles," ($892,500 gold.) 

" Beschenka," (Alosa pontica,) and " jeleznitsa," (Alosa caspica,) 
3,000,000 "pouds," (108,000,000 pounds;) value, 1,050,000 "roubles," 
($735,000 gold.) 

"Vabla," (Leueiscus rutilus,) 600,000 "pouds," (21,600,000 pounds;) 
" okouue," (Percafluviatilis,) 760,000 " pouds," (27,360,000 pounds ;) value, 
500,000 "roubles," ($350,000 gold.) 

"Som,"(Si/«m glanis,) 185,000 " pouds," (6,660,000 pounds ;) valuei 
315,000 " roubles," ($220,500 gold.) 

" Lososs," ] (8aimo salar,) 33,000 "pouds," (1,188,000 pounds;) value, 
106,000 "roubles," ($74,200 gold.) 

" Belorybitsa," (Coregonus leucichthys,) 32,000 "pouds," (1,152,000 
pounds;) value, 103,000 " roubles," ($72,100 gold.) 

"Beluga" bladder, 5,500 " pouds," (198,000 pounds;) value, 600,000 
" roubles," ($420,000 gold.) 

" Veziga," 4,000 " pouds," (144,000 pounds;) value, 70,000 "roubles," 
($49,000 gold.) 

Sturgeon caviar, 139,000 " pouds," (5,004,000 pounds ;) value, 1,390,000 
" roubles," ($973,000 gold.) 

Caviar of Abramis brama and the two kinds of Lucioperca, 300,000 
"pouds," (10,000,000 pounds;) value, 300,000 "roubles," ($210,000 

Fish-oil, 50,000 " pouds," (1,800,000 pounds ;) value, 150,000 " roubles," 
($105,000 gold.) 

Seals, 100,000 " pouds," (3,600,000 pounds ;) value, 150,000 " roubles," 
($105,000 gold.) 

Seal-oil, 100,000 "pouds," (3,600,000 pounds;) value, 350,000 " rou- 
bles," ($245,000 gold.) 

The grand annual total is therefore 13,000,000 " pouds," (408,000,000 
pounds,) representing a value of 15,000,000 "roubles," ($10,500,000 


The Caspian Sea forms four fishing-basins : 1. The trans-Caucasian ; 
2. The territory of the T6rek Cossacks and the inhabitants of Maugy- 
schlak ; 3. The territory of the Ural Cossacks ; 4. The basin of fisheries 
belonging to the state. 


The trans- Caucasian fisheries. — This basin contains four fisheries ; those 
of Salyan and of Kizil-Agatch being the most important. The fishery 
of Salyan, to which the " vataga" (fishing-establishinent) of Bojii- 
Promysl or Providence belongs, extends from the mouth of the Koura 
to the town of Salyan, where the river Akoucha leaves the Koura to 
follow its own course to the sea. At this point the fishery of Kizil-Agatch 
is located. The fisheries extend fifty u versts " (about twenty-nine miles) 
from the sea-coast. Above Salyau, on the Koura and on the Arape, the 
fisheries of Mougane, Chemakha, Elizabethpol, and Arase are found. The 
waters of Bakou extend from the mouth of the Alatchai to Mount Akh 
Sy vir, comprising a fishing-ground in the sea as far as fifty " versts * 
(about twenty-nine miles) from the shore, as well as the seal-hunting 
in the islands. The fisheries of Kouba commence at the mouth of the 
Samouch and extend to the district of Bakau. 

The government always leases out the trans-Caucasian fishing-basins 
for a period of eight years ;■ the contracts being made at Tiflis. From 
1846 to 1854, the amount of rent received by the government was only 
180,000 " roubles," ($126,000 gold.) It then rose to 320,000 " roubles," 
($224,000 gold;) then to 385,000 " roubles," ($269,500 gold j) and at the 
preseut time it amounts to 390,000 a roubles," ($273,000 gold.) The per- 
son who rents a fishery keeps Tartar and Russian laborers at a fixed 
monthly salary, amounting, from 1846 to 1854, to 4J " roubles," ($3.15 
gold.) He also supplies the laborers with food, fishing-implements, and 
boats. Besides their fixed monthly pay, If " kopecks" (not quite one 
cent) is given for each sturgeon that is caught. 

At the u vataga" (fishing-establishment) of Bojii-Promysl, fifteen 
" versts " (eight and a half miles) from the mouth of the Koura, and in 
the Akoucha, there are bars formed by poles and stakes driven into the 
bed of the river, forming a curved line from one shore to the other. In 
every bar, openings are left 3 u sagenes" (21 feet) broad, called " gates," for 
letting boats and fish pass. But, contrary to the regulations, these open- 
ings are usually closed by means of stationary nets. Fishing is always 
very good in all the space between the bar and the sea. People fish 
here with hooks, stationary lines, " palangres," and with large and small 
nets and seines. The lines, being furnished with pointed hooks, which 
are not baited, are either held up by floats or are ballasted and arranged in 
rows. The fish coming from the sea are caught on the numberless hooks, 
and are taken up by the fishermen, who patrol all the rows of lines reg- 
ularly. Besides these implements, stationary and floating nets are also 
used. For catching the " som," (Silurus giants,) the so-called " eissauge " 
(very large nets) are employed. The " som " is only fished for in the 
spring ; during the other months of the year it is entirely neglected, be- 
cause a great deal of salt is required to preserve this extraordinarily fat 
fish, and much fuel to extract the oil, both of which articles are scarce 
and expensive. In the autumn, the "chemaya" (Aspius elupeo'ides) is 

caught by means of floating nets, the thick part of which is made of 
5 f 



silk. Seines are but rarely employed for catching scaly fish, and this 
is only done in the Upper-Koura. 

The person who rents a fishery is bound by his contract to fulfill the 
following obligations : Fishing is prohibited from the 1st of June to the 
1st of August. During this period, the gates of the bar must remain 
open ; and it is forbidden to put any lines or nets there, in order that 
the fish may be enabled to come up from the sea and reach their spawn- 
ing-places. A fine is imposed for breaking this law, amounting to 1,000 
" roubles" ($700 gold) the first time, 2,000 " roubles » ($1,400 gold) the 
second time, and, if it occurs a third time, the contract is annulled. If 
the lessee erects new bars of his own accord, he is punished by having 
his building-material confiscated ; in case of a second offense, he pays a 
fine of 2,000 " roubles " ($1,400 gold) the first time, and 4,000 '* roubles " 
($2,800 gold) the second time. If he receives permission to construct 
fishing-parks, bars of stakes, or nets, he must leave two-thirds of the 
breadth of the river open if he has any competitors farther up the river ; 
and, if this is not the case, only one-sixth part. In navigable rivers, 
bars of any kind must not occupy more than one-fourth of the breadth 
of the river. Moreover, it is forbidden to obstruct rivers, branches of 
rivers, mouths of rivers, and lakes with apparatus of this kind. 
Finally, to allow the fish to ascend the rivers easily, it is not allowed to 
cast a second seine before the first one has been taken on shore. 

The lessee procures the necessary salt for preserving fish and for pre- 
paring caviar from the government salt-depots. In the district of 
Bakou and in the region of the salt-lakes of Salyan, salt costs 12 
" kopecks" (about 7 cents) a pound. The lessee cannot get more than 
130,000 "pouds," (4,996,000 pounds ;) but he has the right to buy salt 
at Astrachan or other cities of the empire. 

According to the exact statistics of M. Danilevsky, the trans-Cauca- 
sian fisheries yielded during the period from 1848 to 1855 the following: 

Number of fish caught. 





2* 3 











.2 * 







- -2 










52, 126 

514, 923 

14. 693 

127, 663 

208, 563 

21, 778 

46, 653 


8, 093 

27, 723 

492, 452 

14, 751 

79, 537 

306, 094 

91, 192 

33, 764 


12, 020 

29, 601 

558, 502 

16, 906 

88, 444 

98, 972 

23, 636 

69, 830 


12, 507 

28, 576 

404, 923 

14, 975 

64, 006 


30, 594 

31, 378 


12, 523 

36, 363 

556, 563 

11, 170 


206, 755 

24, 754 

69, 498 



35, 287 

513, 132 

13, 695 

107, 413 

191, 561 


41, 574 



23, 256 

436, 495 


59, 499 

70, 995 


46, 362 




"B61ouga" bladder. 

" V6ziga." 

" Balyk." 











185 2 

26, 522 
30, 095 
28, 484 
5M, 089 

952, 792 
1, 083, 420 
1, 150, 784 
1, 025, 424 
1, 227, 204 
1, 144, 224 

889, 956 


19, 188 

20, 412 

23, 652 

21, 096 

24, 810 

22, 212 
19, 116 


26, 064 

27, 720 
31 680 
30, 600 
29, 520 
25, 920 

278, 786 
312, 036 
323, 207 
300, 593 
281, 833 
264, 659 
304, 342 

10, 036, 296 
10,821, 148 
10, 145, 988 
9, 527, 724 
10, 956, 312 

Fisheries in the territory of the Terek Cossacks and of the inhabitants 
of Mangyschlak. — This basin comprises two districts, that of Tchetchene 
and that of Bakhteniir. The former extends eleven " versts " (about 
six miles) along the coast ; the latter fourteen " versts n (about eight 
miles) from the Gulf of Bakhtemir to the possessions of the Schain- 
kal of Tarki. In the sea, the extreme limit of the two districts is 
seventy-six " versts n (about forty -four miles) from the coast. 

The right to fish in these waters belongs both to the Cossacks of the 
Terek, aud to those fishermen who, by paying a certain sum of money, 
receive a permit from the military authorities. 

The fishing basin of the inhabitants of the Peninsula of Mangy- 
schlak in the northeastern portion of the Caspian Sea extends from 
Cape Tiouk Karagane twenty-five u versts" (fourteen miles) toward 
the north, aud the same distance toward the west. It has an area of 
six hundred and twenty-five square " versts," (about two hundred and 
seventy three square miles.) Only the inhabitants have the right to 
fish here. 

Fisheries in the territory of the Ural Cossacks. — This exceedingly 
rich basin comprises (a) the river Ural, to a length of six hundred 
u versts" (about three hundred and forty-five miles) from its mouth to 
one hundred "versts" (about fifty-seven and one-half miles) above the 
city of Uralsk ; (b) part of the Caspian Sea from the mouth of the Ural 
extending eighty-eight " versts" (about fifty and a half miles) to the 
west, and seventy-eight M versts" (about forty-five miles) to the east, 
and having a depth of 7 " sagenes," (16 feet 4 inches ;) (c) all the rivers 
and lakes in the interior of the territory ; (d) a great lake, called 
Tcherkalskoe Mortso in the Kirghize steppe, which is connected with 
the sea. 

All these waters are the undisputed property of the army of Ural 
Cossacks. The fishing-regulations are very old, and have, till the 
present time, been kept up by tradition and custom. The military 
authorities see to it that these regulations are strictly enforced. For 
every kind of fishing-industry, the military authorities publish regula- 
tions, stipulating the time of opening and closing the fisheries, the 
different formalities, conditions, <&c. 

As soon as the Ural is free from iee, the spring-fisheries commence. 
In the river, " s^vriougas " (Acijocnser stellatus) are caught with floating 


nets; sturgeon are caught in the sea; and scaly fish in the Tcherkalskoe 
Mortso. Fishing in the river is prohibited from the middle of June till 
the middle of August. The sturgeou appear iu great numbers in the 
Ural in the month of July to seek refuge in the " yatoves," (deep places,) 
to which they, however, do not retire till October. The autumn-fish- 
eries commence about the middle of August, first with stationary nets, 
then with floating nets and seines, and last till November. As soon as 
the Ural is frozen, they begin to catch the sturgeon under the ice by 
means of hooks and fish-gigs, (" bagrenie" ; 7 ') and scaly fish with seines in 
the river, and with stationary nets in the sea. Hook-fishing lasts till 
the middle of January, while nets are used till the first of March. 

In order to allow the fish to enter freely into the Ural, fishing in the 
sea just at the mouths of the river is prohibited over an area eighty 
" versts" (about forty-six miles) long, and forty "versts" (about twenty, 
three miles) broad. Outside of this area it is allowed to place " pa- 
laugres" perpendicularly on the shore for catching sturgeon. The num- 
ber of " palangres" is fixed beforehand, and the most favorable locations 
are distributed by casting the lot. 

In autumn, they fish in the lower part of the Ural over an extent of 
two hundred and eighty " versts," (about one hundred and sixty -one 
miles ;) and 8,000 Cossacks, with 3,000 boats, are engaged in this occu- 
pation. The whole stretch is marked off into fifteen divisions. There 
is always one seine, with wings, to every two boats. The boats at first 
go slowly down the river in regular order, then, as they approach the 
"yatoves," (deep places,) where the fish congregate, all the boats use the 
oars to their utmost capacity, in order to arrive first. 

After the "yatoves" of one division have been exhausted, they pass 
to another division, and so on in order. While the Cossacks go down 
the river in their boats, the merchants follow them along the shore, 
accompanied by wagons, on which the fish, which have been bought by 
them, are placed. Salting is carried on on the spot, as well as the man- 
ufacture of fish-glue (isinglass) and of caviar. 

From the city of Uralsk to the Cossack village of Antonov, people 
fish in the Ural under the ice with hooks and fish-gigs. This fishery is 
also carried on by divisions appointed for every fishing-day. The hook, 
called u bagor," is a fish-gig with a pointed steel hook attached to a 
wooden handle. Fishing with hooks is the favorite occupation of the 
Cossacks. Even the poorest among them can take a part in it; for the 
whole outlay consists of a hook, a sleigh drawn by a horse, and the 
necessary food and fodder for one day. At this season of the year, the 
price of fish is high, so that fishing becomes a very profitable occupa- 
tion. Chance, however, has a good deal to do with success in this mode 
of fishing. 

The fishermen form associations ( u artelles ") of from six to fifteen 
members, and divide the fish among them. 


The value of these fisheries (by hook and by net) may be estimated 
with certaiuty at 400,000 " roubles " ($280,000 gold) per annum. 

The annual revenue of the fisheries of the army of Cossacks of the Ural 
is 1,200,000 "roubles," ($840,000 gold.) 

Fisheries of the government. — The following localities belong to the vast 
basin of government-fisheries : (a) the Volga, with its tributaries from the 
city of Kamychine, in the district of Saratow, to the sea, which includes 
an area of 15,900 square " versts," (about 7,000 square miles,) with 135 
fishing-establishments, (" vatagas ";) (b) those portions of the sea in 
which fishing is free, according to the imperial decree of May 25, 1865. 
This part of the sea is divided into seven fisheries : 1. The southwest 
fishery, from the northern frontier of the territory of the Terek Cossacks 
to a point on the coast five " versts V (almost three miles) from the mouth 
of theTalovka, with an area of 1,501 J square " versts," (about 657 square 
miles ;) 2. That of the buoys of the Terek, from the boundary of the pre- 
ceding division to five u versts " (almost three miles) beyond the mouth 
of the Prorva, with 1,252£ square " versts," (549 square miles;) 3. That 
of the west from the boundary of the preceding division to the Islaud of 
the Four Hills, with 4,206£ square "versts," (1,844 square miles;) 4. 
That of the buoys of the Volga in front of the mouths of the river from 
the Island of the Four Hills to the eastern extremity of the great gulf 
of Sinoye Mortso, with 3,655 j square " versts," (1,720 square miles ;) 5. 
That of the northeast from this gulf to the western limit of the waters of 
the Ural, with 11,054 square " versts," (4,047 square miles ;) 6. That of 
the Emba, from the eastern limit of the waters of the Ural to the fish- 
ing-basin of the inhabitants of Mangyschlak, with a surface of 60,596 
square " versts," (22,667 square miles;) 7. The division of the high sea 
and the waters that wash the eastern coast of the sea to the river Atrek, 
which forms the boundary-line of Persia ; the extent of this division 
has not been exactly measured. 

All these divisions, not including the seventh, tiave an area of 82,267 
square " versts," (32,286 square miles.) If one adds 15,914 square " versts " 
(3,398 square miles) of river-fisheries, the .fourth fishing basin comprises 
an area of 98,181 square "versts," (35,684 square miles.) It includes, at 
least in part, the districts of Saratow, of Astrachan, of Orenburg, of 
Stavropol, and of Daghestan. The administrative authorities have 
their seat at Astrachan. They were constituted by an imperial decree 
of the 25th of iMay, 1865, and are called "Administration. of the fisheries 
and of the seal hunt." This administration belongs to the ministry 
of domains, and it has officers appointed to secure the strict observance 
of the fishing-regulations. It also makes out the contracts and receives 
the payments for fishing-permits. 

Not only are the river-fisheries of private individuals subject to the 
regulations, but also the fisheries of the cities, convents, and villages, 
as also those of the Astrachan Cossacks. 
The river-fisheries of the Terek are leased out by the chamber of do- 


mains at Stavropol for the annual sum of 28,000 "roubles," ($19,600 
gold.) The leases of the other fisheries yield the following sums : those of 
Prince Dolgorouki, 7,000 " roubles," ($4,900 gold ;) of Count Kouchelew- 
Bezborodko, 22,626 "roubles," ($15,838.20 gold;) of the Astrachan Cos- 
sacks, 29,574 "roubles," ($20,701.80 gold;) of the convent of Tchourki, 
7,500 "roubles," ($5,250 gold ;) of the city of Astrachan, 1,863 "roubles," 
($1,304.10 gold.) 

The government possesses in the Yolga and its several branches, as 
well as in the innumerable lagoons and small brooks, ("yiryks,") sixty- 
three fisheries, which are leased separately. The lease is for seven 
years; the price of the lease amounting to 248,839 "roubles," 32 "ko- 
pecks," ($174,187.51 gold.) 

The administration of the fisheries issues special permits for fishing 
in the sea. The price of these permits varies, and depends as much on 
the season of the year as on the locality where people desire to fish. 
Every boat must have its permit. In the spring, the permit costs 20 
"roubles" ($14 gold) for fishing with stationary nets; in the autumn, 30 
"roubles," ($21 gold;) and for the whole year, 50 "roubles," ($35 gold.) 
For fishing with seines, a permit is required for each seine, which costs 
100. "roubles" ($70 gold) a year, and 50 "roubles" ($35 gold) for half a 
year. The seal-hunters pay for an annual permit 6 "roubles," ($4.20 
gold,) and for a half-yearly permit 3 "roubles," ($2.10 gold.) A permit 
for fishing in winter costs 25 "roubles," ($17.50 gold;) but those who 
have already a permit for the whole year, or two permits for six months 
each, receive the winter-permit gratis. 

There are in these waters every year about 14,000 fishermen, with 
3,000 large sail-boats. 

Immediately in front of the mouths of the Volga, the limit of fishing 
is indicated by twenty-two lines of buoys. These lines are formed by 
beacons, or buoys, placed from 120 to 150 " sagenes " (840 to 1,050 feet) 
apart, in the direction of 32 degrees southeast, and extend into the sea 
fifty " versts," (twenty-eight miles,) with a depth of 3 " sagenes," (21 
feet.) These lines are distant from two to six " versts" (about one and 
one-fourth miles to three and one-third miles) from each other. The 
two lines of buoys established before the mouth of the Terek follow 
the direction of 45 degrees northeast, and go out into the sea sixty 
" versts," (thirty-four and one-half miles,) with a depth of 4 " sagenes," 
(28 feet.) "Corridors," as they are called, from five' to ten "versts" 
wide, (about three to six and one- third miles,) form openings before the 
mouths of the rivers to let those fish pass which are leaving the sea to 
ascend the rivers. Fishing in these " corridors " is prohibited. In the 
space between the lines, the fishermen can follow their vocation till the 
sea reaches the depth of 1 " sagene," (7 feet,) which is the case at about 
twelve " versts " (almost seven miles) out at sea, but only with " palan- 
gres; " while farther out at sea, at a depth of 3 " sagenes," (21 feet,) 
they can use " palangres " and stationary nets. In the first case, the 



permit costs 30 " roubles » ($21 gold) in the spring ; 20 " roubles » ($14 
gold) in the autumn ; and 50 " roubles " ($35 gold) for the whole year ; 
in the second case, 70, 50, and 100 "roubles," ($49, $35, and $70 gold.) 
The fishing implements must be placed parallel with the lines of buoys. 
The rows of "palangres" are 22J " sageues" (147J feet) apart, while the 
space between the rows of boats must be 135 u sagenes," (945 feet.) On 

an average, there are 


fishermen, with 1,700 boats, employed 

annually in the fisheries among the buoys of the Volga. 

Table of income from the government fisheries during the years 1867-1872. 

Income from the sale of 

Income from the 
leases of river- 


Taxes on seal-oil 
and seal-skins 
transported to 



Seal -hunt- 


. 1 a-i 






« o 

es o 


<s o 

« o 

M \ OT5 









fe-O J 



E-- . 








go b 








ao B 


210, 861 


147, 603 03 

209, 035 

146, 324 50 


1,035 30 

40, 302 


28,211 80J 

461, 577 


323, 103 93$ 

1868 . . 

229, 139 


160, 397 39 

176, 350 

123, 445 00 1, 068 

747 60 43, 795 


30, 656 82 

450, 352 




229, 868 


160, 907 69 

163, 930 

141, 751 00 


674 10 34,549 


24, 184 30 

429, 310 


3U0, 517 10} 

1870 . . 

229, 868 


160, 907 69 

183, 635 

128,544 50 

1, 131 

791 70 33,552 


23, 486 82 

448, 186 


313,730 71 

1871 .. 

248, 839 


174, 187 52* 

183, 700 

128, 590 00 


699 30 '24, 888 


17,421 67 

444, 983 


311,488 31 


248, 839 


174, 187 52J 

204, 454 

143, 117 80 


464 10 43, 371 


30, 359 84 

497, 327 


348, 129 25 

The taxes on seal oil are paid by persons who buy the seals from 
the huntsmen as soon as these have returned from the sea to the 
mouths of the Volga. The taxes are paid as soon as the huntsman has 
sold his seals, or at the time when the buyer, after having notified the 
fishing-administration, gets ready to ship the casks of seal-oil. The 
tax is 30 " kopecks n (21 cents) for each " poud V (36 pounds) of seal-fat 
or seal-skins ; and 40 " kopecks" (28 cents) for each u poud" (36 pounds) 
of oil. 

Table showing quantities of oil and shins registered at the offices of the administration of 





Russian weight. 

93, 395 " pouds " 
104,161 "pouds" 
81, 979 " pouds " 
78,790 "pouds" 
59, 154 "pouds" 
102,874 "pouds" 

15 pounds 
5 pounds 
30 pounds 
J 5 pounds 
25 pounds 


3, 362, 235 
3, 749, 801 
2, 951, 274 

2, 836, 455 
2, 129, 569 

3, 703, 464 



131, 723 
150, 947 
128, 701 
137, 030 
90, 468 
156, 759 



1 Pouds." 
12, 667 
14. 786 
12, 674 
13, 692 

456, 012 
532, 296 
428, 940 
446, 264 
304, 344 
492, 912 

Whoever introduces dead seals as contraband articles, or clandes- 
tinely sells or buys them, pays a fine triple the amount of the tax on 

The fishing-regulations also impose fines for illicit fishing in the sea. 


Thus, for the use of floating nets there is a fineof 20 u roubles," ($14 gold,) 
and the fishing-implements and the fish caught are confiscated. Any 
person fishing in the "corridors," where fishing is prohibited, pays 
double the amount of an annual permit, either 100 or 240 "roubles, 
($70 or $LG8 gold.) A person who is fined for the third time has not 
only to pay the fine, but is deprived for ten years of the right of fishing 
within the limits of the buoys. Persons using forged permits are 
arraigned before the criminal court. When a permit has run out, it 
must be delivered at the offices of the fishing-administration, and, if 
this is neglected, a fine of 5 " kopecks" (3J cents) must be paid for each 
day of delay, till the maximum of 3 "roubles" ($2.10 gold) is reached. 

The river-fisheries of the government are subdivided into a certain 
number of small fisheries, which are leased. This, as well as the liberty 
of fishing in the sea, the system of buoys, and the fixing of certain 
periods when fishing is prohibited, has fully proved its beneficial influ- 
ence and great usefulness. Formerly, there were at Astrachan only 
seven houses which dealt in fish and fishing-products ; at present, there 
are in that city about thirty large and small fishing-houses, which com- 
pete with each other, not only in the preparation of fish and the different 
articles prepared from them, but also in the sums they pay to their em- 
ployes and laborers. Poor fishermen — and their number is very great — 
who have commenced with but little, have been favored by fortune, and 
many of them have become the independent proprietors of large fishing- 
boats, on which numerous laborers earn a safe and good living. The 
prices paid by the fishing-houses are just double that which they were 
formerly. The system of buoys facilitates the passage of fish into the 
innumerable currents which form the mouths of the Volga, so that they 
cannot only reach the spawning-places, but ascend as high as the fisheries 
located beyond Kamychine in eight districts of the Volga basin. Special 
officers watch zealously over the strict observance of the new fisbing- 
regulations, and the important process of spawning can now go on with- 
out the slightest risk of being disturbed. 

An improvement, which is very desirable, and which has not yet 
been carried out, is the total abolition, or at least a great diminution, 
of the tax on salt. If this were done, the fish would be better salted, 
and certain kinds, which now, on account of the high price of salt, are 
not salted at ail, would become an eagerly sought-for article of com- 
merce. The Astrachan fisheries use at present not less than 2,500,000 
" pouds " (90,000,000 pounds) yearly. The duty on salt is 30 " kopecks " 
(•21 cents) on the " poud," (36 pounds.) 


The implements used by the fishermen of the Caspian Sea are various 
kinds of nets, " paleugres," hooks, and fish-gigs, which generally resem- 
ble those used in the Mediterranean, and are of ancient origin. 

Stationary nets. — The nets that are in use are stationary nets float- 


ing nets, seines, and cast-nets, (" eperviers.") The fishermen and pro- 
prietors of fisheries buy the material for the nets, viz, twine, thread, 
small cords, cords, &c, from the Astrachan merchants, who get them 
from Nijni-Novgorod, Kazan, and Saratow. They use for sturgeon-fish- 
ing in the sea nets which are 12 " sagenes " (84 feet) long and 4 " ar- 
sbeens" (9 feet 4 inches) deep, made of five-ply or six ply thread, with 
meshes 3J to 4 inches square, and furnished with floats and leads. 
These nets are laid as deep as 4 " sagenes,' 7 (28 feet.) Generally, from 
20 to 40 are joined, and sometimes even as mauy as 80 or 100, so as to 
form a straight line extending several u versts." The whole line of nets 
is held up by bolt-ropes on a row of stakes, which are driven into the 
bottom of the sea. Fishing with stationary nets continues from April 
till the end of May, and from August till the beginning of October. 
During the second part of the autumn and in the winter, they are but 
rarely used. 

For catching the great sturgeon, ("belouga,") especially in the winter, 
large nets 12 " sagenes 7 (84 feet) long and G " arsheens " (14 feet) deep, 
are used, with meshes 8 inches square. 

In the lagoons, and in the narrow channels ("yeryke") connecting 
them, as well as in the mouths of rivers, stationary nets are also set for 
catching sturgeon and different kinds of scaly fish. According to the 
regulations, these nets must be set in such a manner as to leave one- 
third of the river unobstructed. The nets for catching scaly fish are 
made of 3 and 4 ply threads j are likewise 12 " sagenes' 7 (84 feet) long, 
but not more than 2 " arsheens w (4 feet 8 inches) broad. The meshes 
are of different sizes. For Lucioperca sandra and Lucioperca volgensis 
and Abramis brama, they measure 2J inches ; for other small scaly fish, 
1J inches ; and for Coregonus leucichthys, 4 inches. In places that are not 
very deep, these nets are attached to poles, while in deep places they 
rest on stationary stakes. 

Among the stationary nets must also be classed the sweep-nets made 
of from tour to seven osier hoops of different diameter, covered with a 
net forming a sort of hood over them. The circle which forms the en- 
trance, and to which the hood and the wings are attached, has a diam- 
eter of from | to 1J " sagenes," (5 feet 3 inches to 10 feet 6 inches.) The 
othercircles, whose diameter diminishes gradually, are 1 to 1£ "arsheens" 
(1 foot 8 inches to 2 feet 6 inches) apart. The net extends 1J "arsheens " 
(1 foot 8 inches) beyond the smallest circle forming the last bag 5 or, 
ending in a leap between the first and third circle, there is another net 
inside, in the shape of a funnel or truncated cone, called " straight en- 
trance," (" goulet " in French,) whose inner opening, 4 inches broad, 
allows the fish to pass into the leap or bag. This entrance is kept open 
by means of cords. Each wing of the sweep-net is from 1£ to 3 u sa- 
genes" (10 feet 6 inches to 21 feet) long, and the meshes are from ljto 
2 inches square. The nets, which are fixed to poles, are placed in such 
a manner that the opening, like an enormous mouth, faces the fish, 


which are going up the river. Several sweep-nets are usually placed 
side by side in such a manner that their wings form sharp angles. It 
is strictly forbidden to obstruct the whole breadth of the river, or the 
whole extent of a fishing-grouud with a row of sweep-nets. 

These nets are generally used in the winter ; while, in the summer, 
small sweep-nets with one wing are used, chiefly for catching " soni," 
(Silurus glanis.) 

Floating nets. — The use of floating nets in the sea is strictly pro- 
hibited, because during the summer-months immense schools of stur- 
geon leave the sea to spawn in the rivers. It has sometimes happened 
that sturgeon have been caught in this manner, and for want of la- 
borers and salt have been thrown into the sea after their roe and their 
swimming-bladder had been taken out. Whenever the officers of the 
fisheries find a fisherman with floating nets in the sea, they confiscate 
his nets and the fish he has caught, and make him pay a fine of 25 
." roubles," ($17.50 gold.) 

The floating nets are from 12 to 15 " sagenes w long, (84 to 105 feet,) 
with meshes 4 inches square, of which 28 or 32 go to one net. The 
floats consist of wooden blocks one "arsheen" (2 feet 4 inches) long, 
cut in the shape of a spatula, and attached to cords, whicli are tied to 
the upper bolt-rope of the net, so that they can be lengthened or short- 
ened at will, according as the school of fish keeps at a certain depth or 
near the surface. These nets have no lower bolt-rope and no leads. 
Two nets are generally tied together longitudinally, in order to double 
the total depth of the leap to 56 or 64 meshes. Every boat carries from 
30 to 80 nets, which, bound together end to end, and thrown into the 
sea,' form a wall of meshes several " versts " in length ; and this, at- 
tached to one of the boards of the boats, is dragged along with the 
boat, while the latter is driveu by the wind, till it extends facing the 
school of the advancing fish. Frequently, two boats keep the nets 
extended between them, aud move with full sail to meet the school 
of fish. 

Iu the Volga and its various branches, as also in the Ural, floating 
nets are used only for catching the several kinds of sturgeon. In the 
T6rek, the u ch6maya" (Aspius clupeo'ides, Pall.) is caught with simple 
floating nets, aud in the Koura with silk nets. Floating nets in the 
shape of a bag are used in the Koura and the Volga for catching the 
"som," (Silurus glanis.) 

The floating nets in the Volga have different names. For catching 
the " belouga," (Acipenser huso,) they use the "pogonaie" nets that are 
150 "sagenes" (1,050 feet) long and from 7 to 11 " sagenes" (49 to 77 
feet) broad, having meshes 6 inches square. For catch, ng the sturgeon 
and the " sevriouga," (Acipenser stellatus,) they use, immediately after the 
ice has broken up, the "samoplavy;" and from the end of May to the 
middle of June, the " svintchatki j " then, immediately after the rising of 
the sea, which occurs in July, the "rejaki." The first-mentioned nets 


are 90 " sagenes V (630 feet) long and 33 meshes broad, each of which is 
4| inches square. They have no lower bolt-rope. The " svintchatky " 
are from 60 to 130 " sagenes" (420 to 910 feet) long, and have two leaps, 
one of which, the outer, is woven with large meshes of 6 inches, and the 
other, or inner, with meshes of an inch and a half. One of the ends of 
the net has a float of reeds or of wood attached to the net by means of 
a cord 2 "arsheens" (4 feet 8 inches) long, while the other end is at- 
tached to the boat. The fisherman who is in the boat allows himself to 
be driven by the current, and is careful to see that the net and the float 
always follow in a straight line, and at an equal distance. The fish, 
which throw themselves on the net, go through the great meshes of the 
outer leap, and then find themselves caught in the inner one. The 
M rejaki" are 90 " sagenes" (630 feet) long, 2 "arsheens" (4 feet 8 inches) 
broad, and have meshes" 3 J inches square, and a lower leaded bolt-rope. 

In the Volga and its several branches, fishing is prohibited from May 
15 to July 15, except with " palaugres," and a seine of 50 u sagenes," 
(350 feet,) which the fishermen drag to and fro, running about on foot 
in the bed of the river in places which are not very deep, thus catching 
small, scaly fish. The fishermen are, moreover, authorized to catch 
sturgeon for their own use, between the city of Tcharnoi-Yar and the 
sea, by means of floating-nets 90 "sagenes" (630 feet) long and 1 
" sageue " (7 feet) broad. This fishing is permitted from June 15 to 
July 15. 

The floating nets used in the Koura for catching the "chemaya" 
(Aspius clapeo'ides) have meshes 1J inches square and are 12 "sagenes" 
(84 feet) long. Instead of floaters, the fishermen use hollow pumpkins. 
The bag nets for catching the "sorn" (Silurus glanis)ha,ve meshes 2J 
inches square. The bag itself is 12 "sagenes" (84 feet) long and 5 
" arsheens" (11 feet 8 inches) broad. In the Volga, these nets are used 
for fishing only in the spring and fall, and in the Koura, in January and 

Seines with bags. — In the Volga and its tributaries, large seines 
("eissaugues") are used, measuring from 300 to 400 " sagenes," (2,100 to 
2,800 feet,) whose bag is from 6 to 12 " sagenes" (42 to 84 feet) long, 
with meshes one inch square. The meshes of that part of the wings 
which is nearest to the bag have the same dimensions, while those 
farther removed from it are from If to 2 J inches in size. The wings 
are not of the same length. That which is cast first, the "coast- wing," 
as it is called, measures only 50 " sagenes," (350 feet,) while the other, 
which is cast so as to form a crescent, measures from 250 to 350 " sagenes," 
(1,750 to 2,450 feet.) The seines are used for catching Lucioperca sandra 
and Lucioperca volgensis and Abramis brama. It is no rare occurrence 
to take 30,000 to 40,000 fish at a single haul. From the middle of May 
till the beginning of July, seines are not used, because the banks of the 
river are overflowed and the current is exceedingly strong. 
Two boats are absolutely required for this fishing ; one of them, the 


"nevodnik," does nothing else but cast and haul in the nets; while the 
other, the "rybnitsa," takes the fish which have been caught to the 
fishing-establishment, ("vataga.") The "nevodnik" is manned by 8 or 
12 fishermen, with a pilot, who directs the fishing, and has the general 
superintendence of the whole. On board the " rybnitsa," which has two 
masts and is 36 feet long, there are 7 men, one of them being a pilot. 
It can carry 1,000 "pouds" (36,000 pounds) of fish. A "rybnitsa" 
costs from 150 to 250 " roubles," ($105 to $175,) and a "nevodnik," from 
100 to 200 "roubles," ($70 to $140.) 

The places in the river where seine-fishing is to be carried on must 
have a uniform and even bottom, so that the nets can be dragged with 
an even movement, and may not be exposed to the danger of tearing. 

According to the regulations, there can be only two seines in one and 
the same place, while the number of fishermen is also limited; for there 
must not be more than one fisherman to every 20 " sagenes " (140 feet) of 
net. The fishing- places must moreover be one " verst " (3,500 feet) apart. 
For catching the " Astrachan herring," (Alosa pontica and Alosa caspica,) 
the number of nets is not limited; but, according to the regulations, the 
meshes of the bag of the net must measure three-eighths of a " verschok," 
(little more than half an inch,) and those of the wing 1J square inches. 
From the 15th of April till the 15th of May, these schools of herring are 
so numerous that the fishermen attach a second bag to the first, then 
again a third one to that, and do not draw the net on shore, but take the 
fish out with a hand-net and throw them into the " rybnitsa." 

In the sea, at a depth of from 5 to 7 feet, and especially in the spring and 
autumn, seines are used measuring from 300 to 400 " sagenes, (2,100 to 
2,800 feet,) and the fish caught are chiefly Lucioperca sandra, Lucioperca 
volgensiSy and Abramis brama, which at this time arrive in vast schools. 
The wings of the seine are of equal lengths. As soon as the approach 
of a school of fish is announced, the " rybnitsa" casts anchor, while the 
" nevodnik " uses all its oars or sails going toward the school and grad- 
ually casting the nets. On board the u nevodnik," there are a pilot, six 
rowers, and two laborers. When the net has been cast, the " nevodnik " 
joins the "rybnitsa," to which one of the ends of the seine is attached, 
and, all hands assisting, they begin to draw the net into the " nevodnik." 
This last-mentioned boat is placed at a distance of one " arsheen " (2 feet 
4 inches) from the " rybnitsa," to which it is joined by strong transverse 
sticks. The net is drawn back underneath the hull of the " rybnitsa." 
This must be done in an even manner, without any sudden jerks. In 
order to deprive the fish of every means of escape, the net is drawn in 
such a manner that the lower bolt-rope of the two wings slightly grazes 
the outside of the boat. For this purpose an iron implement is used, 
shaped like a heart, to the pointed end of which a long cord is attached. 
People fish only by daytime, and during the night the boats are drawn 
on shore. It is very interesting to see the fishermen go out into the sea 
to search for a school of fish. The experienced pilot who leads the ex- 


pedition stands at the prow of the boat, constantly sounding the water 
with a long pole, to ascertain the presence of a school, or to see whether 
one is approaching. He also gives the sign as soon as he thinks the 
moment has come for casting the nets. Generally, thtf whole school is 

Cast net.) — These nets are chiefly used on the southwestern coast 
of the Caspian Sea, at Lencoran, and in the bay of Enseli. They 
are made of silk, and small scaly fish, and even roe, are caught with 
them. The cast net is a round, conical net. If taken up in the middle, 
it assumes the shape of a funnel, the lower opening having a diameter 
of 5J "arsheens," (12 feet 10 inches;) while in the middle of the net, 
which forms the apex of the cone, there is a thin cord 8 "sagenes" (56 
feet) loug. A slack silk rope is attached to this, ending in a noose, 
through which the hand can be easily passed. The opening is edged 
with a strong bolt-rope of the thickness of a finger, which is ballasted 
by small leaden tubes 6 inches long and 3 inches apart. In the spaces 
between the leads, cords 10 iuches long are attached, with one end to 
the bolt-rope and the other to one of the meshes of the net above the 
bolt-rope. Thereby, the lower portion of the net hangs in the shape of a 
bag below each one of these cords, and the leads gradually approach 
each other. This is the old cast-net with blouses, or pockets. 

When the net is cast, it spreads at first like a disk at the bottom 
of the water ; then, as soon as the cord is drawn, the vertical cords are 
brought nearer together, and close the opening like a purse. The net 
thus forms folds, and the fish, which are underneath, get entangled in 
the meshes. It requires a certain degree of skill to cast the net. It is 
done in the following mauner: The fisherman puts his left wrist in the 
noose, holds a portion of the net gathered in his left hand, and with his 
teeth takes hold of the cord with the leads. At the same time he gath- 
ers on his right arm about one-third of the extent of the net forming its 
opening, in such a manner as to let the end hang below the arm, while 
the remainder hangs down in front of his body. In this position, he 
seizes with his right hand the cord with the leads, describes a semicircle 
toward the left to give force to his throw, then turns quickly to the right, 
and, slackening the cord which he holds between his teeth, casts the net 
into the water with all his strength. The cord, weighted down by the 
leads, immediately sinks to the bottom, and the net, completely extended, 
catches the fish which are below. In order to draw it back, the fish- 
erman lifts the net gradually by means of the cord, whose end he has 
not slackened, turning alternately to the right and to the left in order 
to bring the leads together more easily, and winds up by drawing in the 
whole net as rapidly as possible. # 

In order to attract the fish, small glittering stones, or little clay-balls, 
baited with worms, are thrown into the water. Fishing with the cast-net 
is only carried on during the night, and an even bottom, without stones 
or trunks of trees, is absolutely required. 


"Palangres," cable-lines, (cablieres,) and bottom-lines. — The cords, 
thread, and twine required for manufacturing the "palaugres M are made 
in the villages and in some cities of the districts of Nijni-Novgorod and 
Saratow, whence ,> they are sent to Astrachan. The hooks are made of 
wire and are barbed. These hooks are only used for the different species 
of sturgeon. A thousand of these hooks for fishing in the sea cost, if 
they weigh 3 " pouds," (108 pounds,) 17 " roubles," ($11.90 gold f) those 
weighing 2J "pouds" (90 pounds) to the thousand, cost 12 "roubles," 
($8.40 gold;) while the third kind, weighing 1J "pouds" (54 pounds) to 
the thousand, generally cost only 7 "roubles," ($4.90 gold.) In the riv- 
ers, hooks are used weighing 1J "pouds," (54 pounds,) 1 "poud" 10 
pounds, (46 pounds,) or 1 "poud," (36 pounds,) to the thousand; costing, 
respectively, 5 "roubles" 15 " kopecks," ($3.60£ gold;) 4 " roubles" 60 
" kopecks," ($3.22 gold;) and 4 "roubles" 40 "kopecks," ($3.08 gold.) 

A " bottom-line" is a cord of the thickness of a finger and 20 " sagenes" 
(140 feet) long, to which pieces of whip-cord are attached about as thick 
as a quill, 12 inches apart, and furnished with hooks. The floats are of 
w r ood, 5 inches long and 2 inches broad. They are attached to the line, 
the distance between them being equal to that from the end to the fifth 
or sixth piece of whip-cord, making from twelve to fifteen floats to a 
line of 10 " sagenes," (70 feet.) From ten to fifteen of these lines are 
usually tied together and placed at a depth of 3 "sagenes" (21 feet) or 
more. They are kept in position by means of cords attached to station- 
ary poles. In very deep places, anchors are substituted for the poles. 
In the summer, they are only left in the water one week, while in the 
other seasons they remain there two weeks. They are examined every 
day, and the sturgeons that have been caught on the hooks are taken 
off. They are placed in the sea in a straight line, and extend several 
"versts." The sturgeons approach "these palangres," and, anxious 
to pass through the free spaces between the pieces of whip-cord, are 
caught by the hooks, and the more efforts they make to disengage 
themselves the more do they bring the water in motion, and a larger 
number of hooks enter their body. 

The "bottom-line" used in the Volga for catching the "sterliad" 
(Acipenser ruthenus) has usually 200 hooks, attached to pieces of whip- 
cord 11 inches long, and 15 inches apart, on the main line, which is 60 
"sagenes" (420 feet) long. The hooks are made of wire, and a thou- 
sand of them weigh only 5J pounds. 

The "belouga" (Acipenser huso) is caught in the sea with " palengres" 
at a depth of from 70 to 100 " sagenes," (490 to 700 feet,) the line having a 
diameter of half an inch and a length of 70 " sagenes." The hooks are at- 
tached to piecespf whip-cord, 1J " sagenes " (10£ feet) long, and are much 
larger, stronger, and thicker than those used for catching the common 
sturgeon. A thousand of them weigh 3 " pouds, " (108 pounds.) These 
hooks are baited with small, living, scaly fish, known by the name of " ta- 
ranes," (a locaj name for bait fishes of several kinds of Alosa, Abramis, 


Leumcus,sim\ Cyprinus,) which are caught in the Volga immediately after 
the ice breaks up. In order to keep these small fish alive, the fishing-boat, 
which has sails, and is called "kouzovaya lodka," contains a large per- 
forated box, which, by means of pumps, is constantly kept supplied with 
fresh water. When the fishermen have exhausted their stock of bait, 
they return to Astrachan. While the fishing is going on, the livers and 
the caviar of the "belouga" are being prepared on board the boat. 

Spinning-lines and other implements with hooks.— -The "belouga" 
(Acipenser huso) is caught under the ice in the sea by means of large 
perforated hooks of forged iron, baited with seal-fat. The hook is 
attached to a thick cord 30 " sagenes * (210 feet) long, only half of which 
is placed in the water, while the other half is rolled up at the edge of 
a hole which has been made in the ice. The other end of the line is at- 
tached to a strong piece of wood placed across the hole, and the middle 
of this line is tied to it with a thin thread, which tears as soon as a 
sturgeon has bitten, so that the remaining portion of the line unrolls 
and glides under the ice. 

For catching the Silurus glanis in June and July, hooks are likewise 
used, baited with living frogs. The following is the method : The fish- 
ing boat is manned by two men. One rows and the other throws the 
line, which is attached to a rectangular wooden lever ; at the same time 
he beats the water with a sort of shovel formed by a small piece of 
plank, which is slightly concave, and which is attached to a handle. 
This plank produces a peculiar noise, which attracts the Silurus, and, 
seeing the frog, it seizes it, and finds itself caught. 

The Coregonus leucichthys is caught by means of the " blesna," which 
consists of perforated hooks with a long shaft bearing a little tin fish, 
or a flat piece of tin shaped like a fish. Scales of the Cyprinus carpio, 
whose sparkling attracts the fish, are pasted on the flat part of the 

The Ural Cossacks use large steel hooks, sharply pointed and barbed, 
for catching the sturgeon under the ice. The line is attached to the thin 
end of a rod, whose length is in proportion to the depth of the river. 
Frequently, several poles are tied together; in order that the hook may 
descend vertically into the water, and may not be carried away by the 
current, leads are attached to the rod a little below the hook. Small 
poles are held in the hand, but generally they are evenly balanced on 
a tripod of wooden blocks or poles, at a convenient distance from the 
hole in the ice. Near this hole, an arch of osiers is stuck in the ice, to 
which the automatic apparatus is attached, by which, through a wooden 
pin, the line is kept in' the position which is required for this kind of 
fishing — the thin end of the pole near the arch on the ice — and the hook 
at the desired depth. Whenever a fish seizes the hook, the pin is pulled 
out, the rod again becomes straight through the weight of its heavy part, 
and so pulls the fish out. Camps, " sidebki," of from 100 to 1,000 of these 
automatic arrangements may be seen every year on the ice of the Volga. 


The authorities of the Cossack army fix the time for opening the fish- 
ing-season. On the appointed day, Cossacks with ice-breakers, long 
poles, and hooks, meet with their sleighs at the place which has been 
designated, usually near the deep places, " yatoves," where the stur- 
geon are hiding for the winter. When all have arrived, they place 
their sleighs in a row, and wait for the signal in the most profound 
silence. A cannon shot is heard, and all the Cossacks rush on to the 
ice with the greatest emulation. Each one selects his place, rapidly 
works a hole in the ice, and plunges his hooked rod in. The holes are 
generally round, and have a diameter of half an u arsheen," (1 foot 2 
inches.) The hooks are lowered to the bottom of the river, and they 
are constantly taken up and baited. The sturgeons, some of which 
remain entirely quiet in their " yatoves," while others are frightened at 
being disturbed in their rest, soon become the prey of the fishermen, 
who, over a space 1 J " versts " (almost a mile) long and 60 " sagenes " (420 
feet) broad, frequently work no less than 10,000 rods armed with hooks. 
As soon as a fisherman sees, by the strong movement of the water, 
that a sturgeon approaches his hook, he raises it suddenly, draws it 
back, and hauls the captured fish on the ice. 

This fishing goes on over certain fixed areas. After a certain area 
has been exhausted, the fishermen pass on to another, leaving the ice 
pierced by innumerable holes, and covered with some inches of water 
reddened by the blood of the fish. 

Fish-gigs. — This fishing-implement consists of an iron fork with two 
pointed and barbed prongs, which is attached to a pole. Cyprinus car- 
pio and Silurus glanis are caught with the fish-gig among the reeds and 
water-plants. This fishing takes place in the spring. 


By a " vataga " must be understood an entire fishing-establishment, 
such as are found on the banks of the Volga and its several branches. 
The " vataga" comprises dwelling-houses for the proprietors of the es- 
tablishment, and for the inspectors and laborers, and warehouses and 
sheds for keeping the fishing-implements ; also salt- warehouses, provi- 
sion-warehouses, buildings for dressing and salting fish, and for manu- 
facturing isinglass, caviar, and fish-oil. The shore is covered with large 
and small fishing-boats, and everywhere there is bustle and activity. 

No such establishments are found on the banks of the Ural, where 
the fish is generally cut and dressed in the open air, and where it is 
salted in tubs protected by a roof of reed or plank. 

The buildings in which the fish are dressed are constructed on piles, 
rising several feet above the surface of the water, and these form vast 
halls, which are floored and have a roof. In the walls, there are large 
doors. The two doors on the water-side open on inclined planes, form- 
ing a sort of plank-bridge over the water. Very large fish are hoisted 
by means of winches on to this bridge from the boats, while the small 


fish are thrown on to it with boat-books. An inspector receives, counts, 
and registers all the fish which each fisherman delivers. The various 
kinds of sturgeon— the "red fish," or the "fish proper," as it is called — 
are measured from the middle of the eye to the caudal fin ; for the fish- 
ermen receive more or less pay according to the different lengths of the 
fish. The scale of prices, according to the length of the fish, is nearly 
the same in all the " vatagas" of the Astrachan district. 

Four different lengths are fixed for the "belouga," (Acipenser Huso,) 
3 "arsheens," (7 feet,) and over; 1 "arsheen" 10 "vershocks" to 3 
"arsheens," (3 feet 9J inches to 7 feet;) 1 "arsheen" 4 "vershocks" to 
1 "arsheen" 10 " vershocks," (2 feet 11 inches to 3 feet 9£ inches ;) and 
1 "arsheen" to 1 "arsheen" 4 "vershocks," (2 feet 4 inches to 2 feet 11 

The common sturgeon should measure 1 "arsheen" to 1 "arsheen" 6 
"vershocks," (2 feet 4 inches to 3 feet 2^ inches;) the "sevriouga," 
(Acipenser stellatus,) and the " chyp," (Acipenser Schypa,) from J "ar- 
sheen" to 1 "arsheen" 1 " vershock," (1 foot 9 inches to 2 feet 5J inches;) 
the "sterliad," (Acipenser rutlienus,) from 4 to 7 "vershocks," (7 inches 
to 12J inches;) the "som," (iSilurus glanis,) from 1 "arsheen" to 1J 
" arsheens," (2 feet 4 inches to 2 feet 11 inches ;) and the " sazane," (Cy- 
prinus carpio,) from 8 to 12 "vershocks," (1 foot 1J inches to 1 foot 9 
inches) and over. 

The "soudak," (Lucioperca sandra ;) the "bersche," (Lucioperca volge- 
nis;) the "lestehe," (Abramis brama;) the " b6schenka," (Alosa pontica ;) 
the " jeleznitsa," (Alosa caspica,) while other scaly fish are not measured, 
but counted. 

After the fish have been delivered, they are cut, and the entrails 
taken out. For all this work, there are special laborers, who display an 
almost incredible amount of skill and rapidity, and who receive wages 
which are fixed beforehand by free contract. 

The head and tail of the large sturgeons are cut off, and the belly is 
removed from the pectoral air-bladder to the tail. The belly of the 
smaller " belouga " and the common sturgeon is opened, and the head is 
split as far as the nasal cartilage. The "sevriougas" (Acipenser stella- 
tus) are split into two halves, and the entrails thrown away. The roe, 
the swimming-bladder, and the dorsal cord, however, are carefully taken 
out. These parts of the fish are handed to other laborers whose special 
occupation is the manufacture of caviar and isinglass, which is carried 
on in separate buildings. Laborers engaged in the manufacture of 
caviar receive the highest annual wages. 

A large number of young girls and women are occupied in cutting the 
fish. They all wear a peculiar working-dress, consisting of breeches and 
a jacket; their head and half their body being covered. A sharp knife 
in one hand, and a little hook in the other, the working-woman begins 
her labor. Crouched with crossed legs on a straight bench, she picks 
up a fish with her hook, opens its belly, takes out the entrails, and 


throws the fish into a corner, where a large heap-is soon piled up. Dur- 
ing this time, other women are splitting and cutting the fish with no less 
skill, and stringing them on threads made of the fiber of the bark of 
the linden-tree, which they pass through the eyes of the fish by means 
of a large needle. The skill and rapidity of these women are truly ad- 
mirable. Enormous piles of fish which encumbered the floor disappear 
in a few hours, and pass to another building to be salted. A skillful 
woman can dress as many as 2,000 Lucioperca during a single day. 

The building in which the scaly fish are salted has a long shape, 
usually several doors, and contains tubs aud wooden boxes of different 
sizes. A box 3 " arsheens " (7 feet ) deep 4 u arsheens " (9 feet 6 inches) 
broad, and 8 "arsheens" (18 feet 8 inches) long, can hold 100,000 Alosa 
or 45,000 Abramis or 30,000 Lucioperca or 2,000 "pouds" (72,000 pounds) 
of sturgeon of different kinds. The tubs have generally a diameter of 
4J "arsheens," (10 feet 6 inches,) and a depth of 3| "arsheens," (8 feet2 
inches,) and can hold 45,000 Alosa or 20,000 Abramis. The numberof tubs 
and boxes varies according to the locality. Thus, the " vataga" (fishing- 
establishment) of Petropovlovsk, fifty "versts" (about twenty-seven 
miles) above Astrachan, on the banks of the Yolga, has four large cel- 
lars, each holding from 30 to 40 large boxes, destined chiefly for salting 
the various kinds of Alosa. 

The so-called " cold cellars" are particularly grand; here blocks of ice 
are piled up behind a wooden lattice, leaving a space of 1\ " sagenes " 
(10 feet 6 inches) free along the walls of the cellar. Entering a salting- 
cellar through the large door, one sees first the rooms where salt is pul- 
verized by machines ; then the cellar itself, in which there is a long 
floored corridor, running between high and strong wooden pillars. To 
the right and left of this " corridor," the boxes are ranged side by side. 
The roof, which rests on numerous pillars, has sky-lights which give 
sufficient light for the whole cellar. In the roof, there is also a large 
opening, from which an inclined plane, made of planks, leads into the 
cellar. On this inclined plane, the " belougas" and large sturgeons are 
easily let down into the cellar. Several ventilators keep the air con- 
stantly pure. 


Salting. — After having been dressed, the fish are, under the super- 
intendence of the Salter, placed in layers in the boxes above mentioned 
in such a manner that the heads and tails alternate. The Salter then 
throws, with a shovel, the necessary quantity of salt on every layer of 
fish ; the quantity of salt varying according to the kind of fish, and ac- 
cording to the season. In the Astrachan " vatagas," (fishing-establish- 
ments,) it is customary to take from 27 to 30 "pouds" (972 to 1,080 
pounds) of salt in the spring, and from 18 to 20 " pouds " (048 to 720 
pounds) in the autumn to every 1,000 Lucioperca; from 7 to 9 " pouds " 
(252 to 324 pounds) in the spring, and from 4 to 6 " pouds " (144 to 210 


pounds) in the autumn, to every 1,000 Abramis, Percafluviatilis, and As- 
pius rapax; and, on an average, 10 " pouds," (360 pounds,) to 1,000 Alosa. 
A thousand small Cyprinus carpio, L., require from 15 to 18 " pouds" (540 
to 618 pounds) of salt. 

A thousand fresh fish have the following average weight: Cyprinus 
carpio. L., 120 " pouds," (4,320 pounds ;) Lucioperca sandra and Esox In- 
dus, 100 "pouds," (3,600 pounds;) Lucioperca volgensis, 55 "pouds," 
(1,980 pounds;) Abramis brama and Aspius rapax, 50 "pouds," (1,800 
pounds ;) Perca fluviatilis, 35 " pouds," (1,290 pounds;) Scardinius ery- 
throphthahnus, L., 32 " pouds," (1,152 pounds;) and the various kinds of 
Alosa, from 20 to 25 " pouds," (720 to 900 pounds.) 

The diiferents kinds of sturgeon and the Silurus require from 12 to 13 
pounds of salt to every " poud " (36 pounds) of fish ; and the large Cy- 
prinus carpio, L., the Salmo salar, and the Coregonus leucichhys, Giildenst., 
12J pounds to every " poud " of fish, (36 pounds.) 

In the autumn, the back, and not the belly, of the scaly fish is split 
open, so as to let the salt saturate more thoroughly. 

The fish remain a longer or shorter time in the box according to the 
different species : Lucioperca, one month ; Cyprinus carpio, L., 6 days ; 
Silurus, till autumn ; Abramis, 12 days ; the different kinds of Alosa till 
the month of June. The brine of the Lucioperca is again used for salt- 
ing the Abramis or the Leuciscus rutilus, while the brine of the other 
scaly fish is thrown away. 

In the spring, the fish are taken from the boxes, washed, and dried 
on poles. This is done particularly with the Lucioperca, the Abramis, 
and the Leuciscus rutilus, L. ; while the Cyprinus carpio is dried on hur- 
dles made of reeds. The drying x^rocess being completed, the fish are 
taken from the poles, or from the hurdles, laid up in warehouses, and in 
July shipped by steamer toNijni-Novgorod. In September, large boats 
arrive at the " vatagas," (fishing-establishments,) where they buy the 
fish on the spot, being salted before they are shipped. 

The so-called herring, Alosa caspica, is not dressed, but is salted as it is. 
Up to the years 1854 and 1855, the Astrachan herring were only used for 
extracting the oil from them. Even poor people, frightened by its name, 
" beschenka," (the furious fish,) hesitated to use it for food. It is owing 
to the efforts of the committee appointed for examining the fisheries under 
the direction of Mr. Baer that several lessees of the fisheries finally con- 
sented to salt the " beschenka" and the "jeleznitsa" under the name 
of " herring." From that time, the Astrachan herring, as a salt fish, has 
become more and more an article of commerce, while the extraction of 
oil from it has diminished in proportion. Thus, there were salted in the 
river-waters of Astrachan, in 1858, 43,000,000 of this fish, while the num- 
ber rose to 140,000,000 in 1871, and to 160,000,000 in 1872 ; while during 
the same year, 1872, only 30.000 herring were used in the manufacture 
of oil. 

The "b&ouga," (Acipenser huso,) and the " se>riouga," (Acipenser 


stellatus,) taken in the spring, remain for six months in the boxes, till 
the salting and hardening process is complete. Afterward they are 
taken out, dried superficially, and packed in casks. 

Those kinds of sturgeon which are caught from spring till the mid- 
dle of July are transported, during September and October, on wagons 
to tiie Saratov fair; while the fish of this kind caught between the 8th 
of July and the 15th of August are shipped the following spring to 
Nijni-Novgorod on large boats, which are towed by steamers. 

The sturgeon caught in the district of Emba, the northeastern basin 
of the sea, are salted on board of large fishing-boats called " koujovaya." 

The fish, having been dressed, are usually laid in brine for two days, 
and then they are placed in layers at the bottom of the boat, each layer 
being covered with salt. 

The fishermen return from their fishing-expeditions on the sea to As- 
trachan at the end of June, and keep the fish they have caught in ware- 
houses till a transport starts for Nijni- Novgorod. 

The sturgeons caught from the 15th of August till the first frost are 
preserved in the wells (boxes in the hold of the vessel filled with fresh 
water and used for keeping fish) in order to be shipped at a later time. 

Manufacture of caviar. — Two sorts of caviar are manufactured, fresh 
or grained caviar, and hard or pressed caviar. In both cases, the 
roe of the several kinds of sturgeon is spread out on a net with narrow 
meshes forming a sieve, and stretched over a wooden frame ; then the 
grains are passed through the meshes by slightly pressing the whole 
mass till nothing remains on the sieve but the cellular tissue, the fat, 
and the muscle. The grains, which are black or brown, fall through the 
sieve into a wooden receptacle placed uuderneath. For manufacturing 
grained caviar, the roe is sprinkled with very clean and fine salt, and 
the whole mass is stirred with a wooden fork having eight or ten prongs. 
The quantity of salt required varies, according to the season, from 5 
to If pounds ; in August they take from 3 to 5 pounds of salt to 1 
"poud" (36 pounds) of roe, and from 2J to If in winter. The less the 
fresh caviar is salted the more it is esteemed. The roe mixed with the 
salt presents at first a doughy appearance when it is stirred ; but when 
every grain has been impregnated with salt, the whole mass swells, and 
in stirring it a slight noise is perceptible like that of stirring small 
grains of glass. This noise is the sign that the caviar is ready. Then 
it is packed in casks made of lindenw T ood, which does not impart any 
bad flavor to it, while this is not the case with casks made of other 

For manufacturing pressed caviar, a tub half filled with brine is placed 
under the sieve ; the brine being stronger or weaker, according to the 
temperature and the season. To impregnate the grains evenly with 
brine, the whole mass is stirred with a wooden fork, always turning it 
from the same side ; then the grains are taken out with fine sieves, and 
after the whole brine has been drained, 3 "pouds" (108 pounds) of 


grains are put in a sack made of the bark of the linden, which is placed 
under the press in order to get all the brine out of the caviar, and to 
transform it to a solid mass. In thus pressing the caviar, a large number 
of grains are crushed, and a portion of their contents flows out with the 
brine, so that on every u pond " (36 pounds) there is a loss of from 10 to 
12 pounds. After having taken the pressed caviar from the sacks, it is 
packed in casks containing 30 "pouds" (1,080 pounds) each, the inside 
of which is covered with napkin-linen, this being the reason why the 
caviar is also called " napkin caviar," (caviar a la serviette.) 

The finest quality of pressed caviar, that which has been least pressed 
and salted, is placed in straight linen bags of a cylindrical shape, and 
is then called " sack-caviar," (caviar a sac.) Caviar is also shipped in 
tin boxes hermetically closed and soldered. 

Fresh caviar is always preferred to pressed caviar, and also costs more. 
At Astrachan, fresh caviar costs from 30 to 35 " roubles" ($21 to $24.50 
gold) the u poud," (30 pounds,) while the pressed caviar only costs 24 
" roubles," ($16.80 gold.) It is infinitely more advantageous to manu- 
facture grained caviar than hard caviar, because the former pays better, 
requires less salt and less trouble, and there is scarcely any loss on it. 

Every year about 11,000 " pouds " (396,000 pounds) of caviar are sent 
abroad from Astrachan, especially to Berlin, to Dresden, and to Vienna. 
This caviar is bought by contract from the proprietors of the fisheries, 
who either get it from their own fisheries or from fishermen hired by 
them for this purpose, and who prepare the caviar on their own boats 
while fishing on the sea. There are in the u vatagas " (fishing-establish- 
ments) special laborers for manufacturing caviar, who receive an annual 
salary of 300, 400, and even 600 " roubles," ($210, $280, to $420 gold,) 
besides board, lodging, fuel, and light. 

In trade, the caviar of the u belouga " (Acipenscr huso) is esteemed 
more highly than that of the common sturgeon, (Acipenser Guldenstadtii,) 
or of the " sevriouga," (Acipenser stellatus,) because its grains are larger 
and better looking. The most savory of all caviars is the small grained 
caviar of the " sterliad," (Acipenser ruthenus,) but it does not form an 
article of commerce. 

All the different kinds of sturgeon have not equally fat roe. This de- 
pends both on the good quality of the fish and on the season when it has 
been caught. The fattest caviar is that made, during the hot season, from 
the roe of those kinds of sturgeons which are caught in the sea between 
the 8th of July and the 15th of August. This roe is left only a few 
hours in the brine, and then taken out and packed, without being 
pressed, in casks holding from 5 to 10 "pouds" (180 to 360 pounds) each. 
If the roe is tender to the touch in the ovaries, and is already spoiled, 
roe and ovaries are thrown into the brine till they are thoroughly im- 
pregnated with salt. This is then caviar of the worst quality, and 
is shipped in casks holding from 27 to 30 "pouds," (972 to 1,080 pounds.) 
This quality is worth only from 3 to 4 " roubles " ($2.10 to $2.80 gold) 


the u poud," (36 pounds.) The kind called u summer-caviar," however, 
sells at from 6 to 9 " roubles/' ($4.20 to $6.30 gold.) 

The milt of the " belouga" (Acipenser huso) and of the common stur- 
geon (Acipenser Guldenstddtii) is left from three to four days in the 
brine, and then shipped in barrels. The milt of a "belouga" of medium 
size often weighs 27 pounds, and that of the common sturgeon 12 pounds. 

The roe of the " lestche," (Abramis brama,) of the " soudak," (Lucio- 
perca sandra,) and of the " vobla," (Leuciscus rutilus, L.,) is also used for 
making a kind of caviar which is chiefly sent to Constantinople and to 
Greece. Greek merchants come to Astrachan, buy the roe of these fish 
at the " vatagas," (fishing-establishments,) and there prepare the caviar 
themselves. They draw from the body of the fish the little bags which 
contain the roe, throw them together promiscuously, and cover each 
layer with a certain quantity of salt. They then press the whole be- 
tween boards weighted down by heavy stones. This caviar remains thus 
for a month, after which the Greeks put it in casks and ship it. Caviar 
which has been thus prepared is cut in slices shaped like disks, and is 
much sought after in Greece. 

Manufacture of isinglass. — The bladder of fish, which is known in 
trade by the name of "feuille d'esturgeon" in French, "Hausenblase" in 
German, and "isinglass" in English, is extracted from the inner side 
of the swimming-bladder, not only of the "belouga," but also of other 
kinds of sturgeon, as likewise of the Silurus glanis and of the Cyprinus 
carpio. It is true that the large sturgeon vields the greatest quantity of 
bladder, but the best is that of the common sturgeon, (Acipenser Gulden- 
stadtii,) while the most inferior quality is that which comes from the 
Silurus. Good isinglass must be pure, white, shining, half- transparent, 
dry, and horny, without taste, but not without some perfume. Good 
fish-bladder dissolves in water heated to 30 or 40 degrees K6aumur 
(about 100 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit) without leaving any residue, and 
when it grows cold it becomes a transparent and almost colorless gelatine. 

The fish-bladder is mostly prepared by young boys, superintended by 
experienced laborers. First, the swimming-bladder of the fish is thrown 
into the water, where it is left for several days ; the water being fre- 
quently changed, in order to detach all the fatty and bloody particles 
from the bladder. The hotter the water the quicker is this done. The 
bladders are then taken out, and cut lengthwise into strips, which are 
exposed to the sun and air. These strips, or leaves, are usually spread 
out, in order to dry them, with their outer side on small boards of 
lindenwood ; the inner side is formed by leaves (lamellce) of pure 
isinglass, which, after having been well dried, are carefully detached 
from the outer side. The leaves of isinglass thus obtained are laid 
between pieces of linen, to preserve them from the flies and from dust; 
then they are placed uuder a press, so that they may not become 
warped, but may form smooth cakes. It is only after all these different 
operations have been performed that the laborer proceeds to pick the 


leaves and tie them in bundles. These bundles of isinglass, produced 
from the large sturgeon, are usually composed of from ten to fifteen 
leaves, and weigh 1J pounds each; while those of the common sturgeon, 
or of the "s^vriouga," contain twenty-live leaves, and weigh one pound 
each. Generally, eighty of these bundles are sewed up in a linen bag ; 
they are also made up into small bales, covered with rush mats or with 
linen, and are then shipped, after being securely headed. 

The "poud" (36 pounds) of " sturgeon-leaf" costs in Astrachan from 
120 to 180 "roubles, 77 ($84 to $126 gold.) 

The swimming-bladder, deprived of its inner skin, that is, of the inner 
shining cuticle of which isinglass is made, as described above, still con- 
tains a certain quantity of glue, which is moistened with water, and then 
removed by scraping it with a knife ; this is also moistened with water, 
and then kneaded. This mass is molded into small round tablets of 
the size of a dollar, which are dried. This kind of fish-glue is shipped in 
sacks, and costs less than the isinglass in leaves. 

The leaves of the glue from the Silurus are arranged in book-form, 
and are dried on thin cords. They are shipped in bags containing 1 
M pouds" (144 pounds) each. The glue gained from the Cyprinus earpio 
is also in leaves, arrauged in packages of 30 each. 

Some persons at Astrachan have manufactured good fish-glue from 
the scales of fish. Even at this day there lives in the Cossack village of 
Samyani, 60 " versts n (about 34£ miles) above Astrachan, a surgeon 
named Sokologorski, who, from the scales of the Alosa, extracts glue in 
thin and transparent leaves. According to his account, two pounds of 
this glue are as good as one u poud w (36 pounds) of sturgeon-glue. 
Unfortunately, he has not the necessary means to enable him to place 
any considerable quantity of his manufactures in the market. 

Formerly, the shining cuticle of the swimming-bladder was dried, and 
cut into long, straight strips, which were tied alternately together, one 
by the side of the other and one on the top of the other. These strips 
thus tied were then laid in water to become soft, and afterward pressed 
to let the water run off. This matter was then molded into different 
figures, such as horseshoes, lyres, hearts, cylinders, &c. Small wooden 
bolts kept these figures in their original shape till they were completely 
dry. The Ural Cossacks, even to this day, make " glue hearts," which 
they put up in packages of 42. It requires 1,500 a glue lyres " to make 
one " poud," (36 pounds,) and from 7,000 to 10,000 "glue horseshoes" 
to make the same weight. 

Isinglass is used for clarifying various liquids, for making fine glue- 
colors, for giving a gloss and finish to textile fabrics, for making plas- 
ters, for taking the impress of coins, and finally in the kitchen for 
making jellies. 

Manufacture of u veziga." — "V6ziga" is the name given to the dried 
dorsal cord of various kinds of sturgeon. After the entrails, the roe, 
and the swimming-bladder have been taken out of the fish, a small 


incision is made in tbe flesh, and, the finger being inserted, the dorsal 
cord is drawn out. This cord has the shape of a long and straight rib- 
bon. It is carefully washed, and pressed, so that the soft matter which 
it contains oozes out, after which it is dried during from three to eight 
days, according to the season. When the u v6ziga" is entirely dry, it is 
put up in packages, fifty of which form a bale weighing one "poud," 
(36 pounds.) A package of " vdziga" of the "belouga" [Acipenser huso) 
contains twelve dried dorsal cords, while there are twenty in a package 
of "veziga" of the Acipenser Guldenstadtii, tue Acipenser stellatus, and 
the Acipenser scliypa. A thousand "belougas" of medium size gen- 
erally produce 5 " pouds" (180 pounds) of " veziga;" but the same num- 
ber of common sturgeon, {Acipenser Guldenstadiii,) and of Acipenser steh 
latusj yield only 1 "poud," (36 pounds.) When the u veziga" is boiled, it 
rises, and in this condition it is cut into small pieces, which form an im- 
portant ingredient in excellent little fish-pies. The " veziga" is not used 
for anything else. It costs from 15 to 20 M roubles" ($10.50 to $U gold) 
a "poud," (36 pounds.) 

Manufacture of u balylc."— The Tartar word u balyk" means "fish," 
and is used in Russian for the backs of sturgeons which have been 
slightly salted and then dried in the sun. For making good u balyk," 
a large and tolerably fat fish is selected, whose head, tail, sides, and 
belly are taken off. That which remains, the dorsal part, has to undergo 
a special salting, while the other parts are salted in the usual manner. 
The back of the common sturgeon {Acipenser Guldenstadtii) and of the 
"sevriouga" {Acipenser stellatus) remaiu entire, while those ,of the large 
sturgeon [Acipenser Huso) are cut, either lengthwise only, or else both 
lengthwise and crosswise. The pieces are placed in a tub so as not to 
touch each other nor the sides of the tub ; and they are left thus after 
having been covered with a thick layer of salt from nine to twelve 
days, and even fifteen days when the pieces are large and the weather 
is hot. The salt is mixed with a little saltpeter, to give to the u balyk " 
a reddish color, (2 pounds of saltpeter to 50 "pouds" (1,800 pounds) 
of " balyk.") Allspice, cloves, and bay -leaves are frequently put into 
the brine. W r hen the salting is finished, the " balyk" is put into water 
for a day or two, in order to detach all particles of the brine from it. 
Thereupon it is dried, first in the sun and then in the shade, on roofed 
scaffoldings, which are erected for the purpose. This last-mentioned 
operation requires from four to six weeks, and is considered finished 
when the " balyk " begins to cover with a slight mold, the absence of 
which shows that it has been salted too much. 

Good "balyk" must be as soft and tender as smoked salmon ; must 
have a reddish or orange-brown color ; and must have an odor something 
like that of the cucumber j it must also be transparent, show no traces 
of putrefaction, nor have a bitter taste ; and, finally, it must not be too 
salty. There are very few manufacturers who can prepare "balyk" 
that has all these qualities. A " poud" (36 pounds) of good " balyk" 


costs at the manufactory at least 18 " roubles," ($12.60 gold,) and at 
retail it can seldom be bought for less than 1 " rouble" (70 cents gold) 
a pound. The " balyk " made in March is considered the best. 

On the banks of the Koura, and in the trans-Caucasian waters, where 
the "sevriouga" (Acipenser stellatus) is caught in large numbers, 
" balyk " is made of at least 300,000 of these fish every year. This 
" balyk," commonly called " djirim," is not of the first quality. It is 
dry, very salty, and is much sought after by the inhabitants of Kache- 
tia, because it produces thirst and gives them occasion to quench it 
with the excellent production of their vineyards. 

A large sturgeon of 20 "pouds" (720 pounds) yields 5 "pouds" (180 
pounds) of " balyk j" a very large " sevriouga," 15 pounds; a common- 
sized " sevriouga," 4 pounds j and the common sturgeon, from 8 to 12 

Manufacture of oil. — Oil is extracted either from the fat which in- 
closes the entrails of the sturgeon and the Lucioperca, or from the 
whole body of the Astrachan herring, (Alosa pontica and Alosa caspica.) 
In the first case, the fat is taken out, washed, and cut into pieces, which 
are thrown into a tub, with from 10 to 15 pounds of salt for the whole 
mass. The whole is then well shaken in a caldron, and placed on the 
fire ; this caldron being put inside a larger copper caldron, in which 
the water is boiled, thus causing the fat in the inner caldron to melt. 
When the oil swims on the surface, it is skimmed off and poured into 
oakwood barrels. This oil is pure and has a light-yellow color. It is 
used for cooking-purposes, and for softening caviar when it has become 
too dry. 

Oil was made from Astrachan herring on a very large scale till the 
year 1854, when people commenced to salt this fish. Other scaly fish, 
even the " sterliad," (Acipenser ruthenus,) were used for making oil. 
The period from April 15 to May 5, fixed for this manufacture, was 
scarcely ever observed. This period is still considered the legal period 
for the " vatagas" (fishing-establishments) located below Astrachan ; 
while for those above this city, the time for making oil is between April 
20 and May 10. Any person taken in the manufacture of oil before or 
after this period has to pay a fine of 25 "roubles" ($17.50 gold) for 
every day beyond the legal period. 

The manufacture of oil is carried on in the open air. The Alosa are 
piled up in casks and tubs, and are constantly moistened with boiling 
water till the oil separates and swims on the surface. The oil is poured 
into barrels, and sold at from 2 "roubles" 75 "kopecks" ($1.92J gold) 
to 3 " roubles " 25 " kopecks" ($2.27£ gold) a " pond," (36 pounds.) It 
is used in soap-factories and in tanneries ; it is also burned in lamps 
and used in making oil varnish. 

The residue must be buried in the ground, and it is strictly forbidden 
to throw it into the water. Any violation of this regulation is punished 
with a fine of 100 " roubles," ($70 gold.) 



Since the year 1870, people have commenced, although it is properly 
not allowed, to make oil of lampreys, (Petromyzon fliiviatilis,) which, in 
December and January, appear in great numbers in the Volga above 
Astrachan. These fish yield no less than 8 pounds of oil per thousand 
fish ; and this oil, which costs 3 " roubles » ($2.10) a " poud," (36 pounds,) 
is pure and clear, although containing a good deal of glue. It is not 
probable that this industry will develop much; for several " vatagas % 
(fishing-establishments) have already begun to pickle the lamprey, 
which forms in this shape a very savory dish. Thus, in October last, 
a merchant of Tchorno'i-Yar, Sabourow by name, sent to St. Petersburg 
for experienced laborers to pickle 3,000 "pouds" (108,000 pounds) of 
lamprey. A thousand lampreys weigh not less than 140 pounds. 


Table of the market-prices since the year 1866, when fishing in the sea was declarcdpcrfcctly free. 


From July 1, 
1866, to July 
1, 1867. 

From July 1, 
1867, to July 
1, 1868. 

From July 1, 
1868, to July 

From July 1, 
1869, to July 
1, 1870. 

From July 1, 
1870, to July 
1, 1871. 

Aeipenser huso 

Aeipenser Guldenstadtii of 
3' 6"...: 

Of 2' 4" 

■Aeipenser stellatus of 2' 4" . 

Less than 2' 4" 

Aeipenser schypa 

Silurus glanis of 3' 6" 

Of 2' 4" 

Coregonus leucichthys 

Aeipenser ruthenus 

Cyprinus carpio, dried 


Tinea vulgaris and Ferca 


Esox lucius, salt 

Heads of Aeipenser huso, 


Belly of Aeipenser huso . . . 
Caviar, pressed 

Made iu summer 

In t'er ior quality 

Fresh caviar of Aeipenser 

Of Aeipenser Gulden- 

Milt of sturgeon 


Abramis brama 

Lucioperca volgensis 


$1 33 to $1 571 

1 574 
1 Oli 
1 2!)i 

1 33 
1 12 

1 22* 

$1 47 to$l 50i 



2 45 
8 75 
4 55 
2 80 

2 06i 
1 54 
1 82 
1 57$ 


2 80 
12 60 

11 40 17 50 

8 924 12 60 

1 75 


1 33 

1 57£ 
1 47 
1 29i 

1 47 
1 12 


1 40 



2 45 
8 75 
4 20 
2 35 

11 20 

2 03 
1 50* 


2 80 
12 60 

17 50 
11 20 

8 92i 

1 47 1 96 

56 59.i 




2 80 
8 05 
4 20 
2 35 

$1 61 

1 57i to $2 
1 Oli i 
1 20* S 
1 08^ 
1 504 
1 12 


1 154 

$1 61 to 1 92i $2 3 8 

1 75 

14 00 

11 40 18 20 

8 40 9 80 

1 05 

1 47 1 68 




2 38 
2 10 
1 924 
1 7H 

1 784 
1 26 

1 75 
1 75 





1 05 

2 80 
9 80 
6 30 

3 15 

11 20 







2 80 

1 05 


3 321 
15 40 

11 20 19 60 

2 1' 

3 08 
2 87 
2 73 
2 52 
2 38 
1 26 
1 75 
1 75 
1 05 

to$l 54 


2 45 


1 224 

3 15 3 85 

10 50 15 40 
5 60 

2 75 

11 90 19 60 

7 70 
1 05 

1 92! 

2 33 

11 20 
2 274 


7 524 
16 10 

8 05 
4 374 
2 10 

2 10 

18 90 
9 45 

4 55 

1 75 

2 80 

7 52| 
16 80 

8 40 
4 20 
3 36 

1 26 

2 80 

18 90 
9 45 
4 44! 
4 55 
2 274 

4 20 

16 80 
8 40 
4 20 
4 20 

1 05 

2 45 

6 30 
19 03 
9 80 

4 55 

2 10 

2 80 

4 72* 
19 60 
9 80 
3 50 
3 50 
1 40 
3 15 

6 30 
21 20 
12 60 
4 90 
4 90 

3 15 

4 20 

4 27 
22 40 
11 20 
4 90 
4 90 
2 10 
4 90 

7 70 

Abramis brama, salt, large 

25 20 
12 60 

7 00 

" Scrtes " 

7 00 




The fishing-houses pay to the fishermen whom they hire either an 
annual salary, or a fixed price, determined by agreement for every kind 
of fish and the articles manufactured from fish. The fishermen have no 
fishing-implements, and receive these from the fishing-houses. They 
are principally engaged for seine-fishing, serve as rowers, or work at 
the u vatagas," (fishing-establishments.) Eussians very seldom hire 
themselves out by the year,, while the Kalmyks do this exclusively. 
The annual salary is in proportion to their skill, experience, and dili- 

Those fishermen who are paid according to the number of fish caught 
nearly all own a little house, horses or cattle, boats, or other property, 
which assure them credit at the fishing-houses, and serve as a guar- 
antee for the payment of indemnities iu case they do not fulfill the con- 
ditions to which they have bound themselves by agreement. They 
receive the earnest-money in advance to buy fishing-implements and 
equip their boats. This subsidy is much more considerable for those 
who fish in the sea than for those who fish in the river ; for the former 
must have a spacious, safe, and solidly-built sail-boat, and also a larger 
number of workmen. Moreover, they are exposed to all kinds of priva- 
tions and dangers. 

Contracts are made in July. The fishing-year commences July 1. If 
the year has been favorable, the fisherman, after paying back the 
earnest-money, has a considerable sum left ; if, on the other hand, it 
has been unfavorable, the fisherman finds it difficult to meet all his 
expenses, and he is obliged to contract debts, which he is never able to 


Table showing the beneficial influence which the liberty of fishing in the sea has had on the 

wages of fishermen. 

Acipcnscr huso 

(December 1 to February 15) . 
Acipcnscr Guldcnstadtii, (3' (V") 

(December 1 to February 15). 

(2' 4") 

(December 1 to February 15) 
Acipcnscr stcllatus, (2' 4") 


(December 1 to February 15). 
Acipcnscr Schypa 

(December 1 to February 15) . 
Heads of Acipcnscr huso ...~. 

The fishermen have received the following pricea 
per " poud," (36 pouuds.) 


13 >> 


o o 

1 61 

$0 56 
1 61 


9 o 




13 >> 


$0 70 
1 26 

1 26 

1 26 


1 26 


24 i 

o o 

$1 19 
1 75 
1 40 
1 75 
1 75 
1 75 
1 40 
1 05 
1 75 
1 19 
1 75 

13 >> 


O O 

$1 26 
2 10 

1 47 

2 10 

1 08£ 

2 10 
1 47 

1 78* 

2 10 

1 26 

2 10 

3 i? 
o o 

$1 54 
2 10 

1 75 

2 10 

1 22J 

2 10 
1 75 

1 22J 

2 10 

1 54 

2 10 


Table showing the beneficial influence, $c. — Continued. 

Caviar of Acipenser huso. 

(July 1 to September 1) 

(September 1 to December 1) 

(December 1 to February 15) 

Caviar of second quality, made in summer 

Caviar of inferior quality 

Caviar of Acipenser Guldenstddtii and of Acipenser 
stellatus : 

(July 1 to December 1) 

(December 1 to February 15) 

(February 15 to July 1) 

Silurus cjlanis, (3' 6'') . . .' 

&4") - 

Coregonus leuchichthys 

Seals in spring 

In autumn 

Acipenser ruthenus 

Cyprinus carpio, L. : 

(1' 9" aud more, in spring) 

(1' 5f " to V 9", in spring) 

(1' 9" and more, in autumn) 

(1' 5f " to V 9", in autumn) 

(1'2" to 1' 5*", salt) , 

Salting Lucioperca aandra at the " vataga " 

Salting Lucioperca sandra on the boat 

Salting Esox lucius in spring 

In autumn 

Salting larse-sized Abramis brama, strongly 


Large-sized Abramis brama, salted and dried 
Salting medium-sized Abramis brama strongly 
Salting medium-sized Abramis brama slightly. 
Medium-sized Abramis brama salted and dried 

Salting Aspius rapax 

Salting Lucioperca vblqensis strouglv 

Slightly.^. .. 


Salting Lcuciscus rutilus 

Salting and drying 

Saltin g Scardinius erythrophthelmus 


Salting and drying 

The fishermen have received the following prices 
per " poud," (36 pounds.) 

p o 

$4 27 

6 37 

7 91 
2 10 



o o 

$4 27 

6 37 

8 12 

2 10 


4 27 

8 12 

4 27 




r-< « 

$4 90 

7 70 

8 40 
2 10 


4 90 
8 40 
4 55 
17 ; 

$7 00 

11 90 

11 90 

2 10 


G 30 

6 30 

6 30 





1 05 


$7 35 

12 25 

12 CO 

2 10 


6 05 
6 55 


10 50 

11 20 
5 60 

3 50 

4 90 

3 50 

1 05 
1 05 





1 40 

10 50 

11 20 
5 60 

3 50 

9 10 
1 40 

5 95 
1 05 
1 05 





1 40 

10 50 

II. 20 
5 60 

17 50 
8 75 

3 50 

4 90 

3 50 

3 50 

9 10 
1 40 

5 95 
1 05 
1 05 

10 50 

11 20 

5 60 
17 50 
8 75 

3 50 

4 90 

3 50 

3 50 

9 10 
1 40 

5 95 
1 05 
1 05 


2 45 

21 00 

11 20 

5 GO 
17 50 

8 75 







4 90 

9 80 

2 10 

2 10 

6 3C 

1 05 

1 05 

1 05 

2 45 

5 >, 

$8 40 

13 30 

12 60 

2 10 


7 70 
7 10 
7 70 

21 00 

11 20 

5 60 

28 00 

10 50 

3 50 

7 70 
28 00 

4 20 
28 00 

5 GO 

8 75 
10 50 

2 80 
8 75 

6 65 
1 05 

1 05 

2 80 

1 05 

1 05 

2 80 
2 80 


The seal, which is very common in the Caspian Sea, (Phoca caspica,) 
is from 3 to 6 feet long, weighs from 2 to 4 "ponds," (72 to 144 pounds,) 
and has a variegated fur, the back grayish-brown with yellowish stripes. 

These seals gather in large herds, and, plunging continually into the 
water, chase scaly fish, of which they eat only the breast, leaving the 
remainder of the body, with the entrails, to the sea-birds, which are 
constantly hovering above them. Endowed with a very acute sense of 
smell, the seals at times escape the vigilance of, their enemies, the fish- 
ermen, with the exception, however, of the young, which, inexperi- 


enced as they are, follow the fishing-boats for long distances, and seem to 
take special pleasure in hearing the fishermen whistle or sing. It is an 
interesting spectacle to see the young seals lying on their back, sleep- 
ing peaceably while being rocked by the waves, and throwing up from 
time to time small jets of water by breathing. 

The seals love the cold; and, in the summer, they seek the deep sea, 
leaving it in the autumn for 5 their favorite place of abode, the north- 
eastern basin of the Caspian Sea, which is the portion first covered with 
ice, and where the ice breaks up latest. Numerous herds of seals gather 
on pieces of floating ice, to rest or to pair. The pairing-season lasts 
from the end of December till January 10. The female every year gives 
birth to one young one, seldom to two. The young have a shining 
white, silky fur ; but after ten days it becomes coarse and turns gray. 
Theu the tender solicitude of the mother ceases ; for the little one has 
to go into the water and swim. Seals that are one year old have gray 
fur speckled with black spots. 

The seal is hunted also on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, at 
the mouths of the Volga and the Ural, and in its southern part, espe- 
cially on the islands of the Gulf of Apcheron. 

The principal meeting-places of seal-hunters are on the seven islands sit- 
uated north of the Peninsula of Mangyshlak, called the " Seals' Islands," 
on account- of the large number of these animals found there. Other 
islands also abound in phocae. Thus there have been years when about 
40,000 seals were killed on the island of Peshnoi, before the mouths of 
the Ural ; and, in 1846, 1,300 were killed in one night. 

The seals are hunted in three different ways : they are killed with 
clubs on the islands where they gather ; or they are shot with guns ; or 
they are caught in nets. 

The first-mentioned way is the grandest, and yields the best results. 

The great meeting-place of the huntsmen is Koulali, the largest of 
the seal islands, having a length of thirty-five "versts," (about twenty 
miles,) and a breadth of three u versts," (about one and two-thirds miles.) 
The hunters, who winter there every year, have built wooden houses, 
huts, and sheds on this island. The fishing-authorities at Astrachan 
send every year one of their officers to Koulali to superintend the chase 
and the hunters, where he remains from October till the middle of May. 
On account of the bustle and noise, the seals have deserted this island 
for a number of years, and selected, for their place of gathering, the 
islands of Sviatoi and Podgornoi. 

In the spring and autumn, the seals seek the shore to rest in the sun, 
one herd arriving after the other. Scarcely has the first settled, when 
a second comes yelling and showing their teeth to drive it away, followed 
soon by a third, to which it in turn has to yield its place ; so that the 
last herd arriving always drives the first farther back on the coast. The 
invasion terminates by the arrival of some isolated stragglers. 

Now is the time for the hunters to commence the chase. They care- 


fully observe in what place, and, approximately, in what numbers, the 
seals have gathered ; and then elect as their chief the most experien- 
ced and skillful among them. They approach the rookery in boats, 
either at dusk or during the night, always going against the wind, to 
conceal their approach. 

After their arrival on shore, the hunters disembark noiselessly, form 
a line in order to cut off the retreat of the seals, and thus, creeping, 
advance quite near to the herd, which is sleeping and suspects no danger. 
On a signal from the chief, the hunters all rise at once and pitilessly 
attack their unfortunate victims, killing them by a single blow on the 
snout with the club. The bodies are i>iled up by means of gaffs, and 
after a few minutes form a rampart, depriving the survivors of every 
chance of regaining the sea. The seals howl, groan, bite, and defend 
themselves ; but the hunters, eager for gain, go on killing them without 
mercy, and soon the whole herd is massacred. It is no infrequent 
occurrence to see 15,000 dead seals cover the battle-field of a single 

After the killing, the dressing of the seals commences, usually about 

The head is cut off, the belly is opened, and the skin is taken off with 
the thick layer of fat adhering to it. These skins are piled up on the 
boats, which take them to large sailing-vessels, anchored some " versts " 
from the shore, on which they are heaped up, each layer being covered 
with salt. These vessels sail with their cargo to Astrachan, while the 
hunters return to the coast to carefully clean the battle-field. They 
bury the bodies and entrails, at some distance, deep in the ground, or 
throw them into the sea, far from the shore, and carefully obliterate 
every trace of blood, so that, when another herd of seals arrives, these 
animals do not see any marks of the slaughter which has taken place; 
for experience has shown that they never select for their rookery a 
place from which every trace of the slaughter has not been carefully 

Two hundred seal-hunters, employed by wealthy merchants or fish- 
ermen, usually winter on the island of Koulali. Numerous boats, be- 
sides, go there every year to participate in the chase. The masters of 
these boats secure permits from the fishing-authorities and give them 
to their workmen, who receive their wages in money. The pilot gener- 
ally gets from 175 to 300 " roubles," ($122.50 to $210 gold,) and the 
workmen from 85 to 125 "roubles," ($59.50 to $87.50 gold.) They are fed 
at the expense of the master. 

Another way of hunting the seals is to take them with nets. Im- 
mense nets are stretched out, into which the hunters endeavor to 
chase them by yelling and making a noise. This way of hunting is 
chiefly employed in the maritime district of the Ural Cossacks and in 
the Gulf of Sineye' Mortso, from October till the sea is covered with ice. 


The nets, called "okhani," are 6 "sageues" (42 feet) deep, and have 
meshes of 7£ inches. 

The following is the manner of proceeding: Forty boats join together 
and elect a chief and an assistant chief. Then the boats sail out to sea 
with a fair wind, or use their oars, going in a line, thus forming a sort 
of chain. In every boat, there are three nets. The chief, followed by 
twenty boats, is on the lookout for a herd of seals, which he endeavors 
^o cut off, while his assistant remains with the other half of the fleet at 
some distance from the shore. When the chief thinks that the time for 
action has come, he gives the signal by throwing into the sea a bale, to 
which a flag is fastened. At this signal, the boats simultaneously cast 
their nets, which are all tied together so as to form a wall of meshes, by 
which the seals are soon completely surrounded. Then the hunters 
begin to yell and to strike the water with their oars, in order to 
frighten them. These seek to avoid the danger by plunging, but they 
rush against the barrier of nets, and are caught in the meshes, so that 
they can be killed without difficulty. This way of hunting is prohibited 
in those parts of the sea where it injures the fishing or obstructs the first- 
mentioned manner of hunting. The chase on the ice is fraught with 
many dangers, and is, therefore, at present prohibited. The hunters, 
sitting on little sledges drawn by strong and hardy horses, and provided 
with food, continue on for several weeks to shoot old seals, and kill 
young ones while they still have their white and silk-like fur. These 
hunters brave all dangers ; and it has sometimes happened that the 
south or southwest wind, having detached large masses of ice from the 
shore, has driven them out into the open sea, where they have floated 
in all directions, with the adventurous huntsmen on them. These un- 
fortunate hunters usually perish from cold and hunger on these masses 
of ice, or find their death in the waves. 


The fat adhering to the skin of the seal is detached from it, cut 
into pieces, and melted in caldrons, after which the oil is poured in 
barrels. This is the simplest way of making seal-oil, and the hunters 
often employ it. But oil is also manufactured by steam in establish- 
ments built for this purpose on the left bank of the Volga, opposite As- 
trachan, by some rich merchants. Thirty -five " versts " (about twenty 
miles) below Astrachan, the Sapojnikow Brothers have built a steam oil- 
factory at the k .f vataga " (fishing-establishment) of Ikriannaya. This 
factory is particularly busy in the spring, when whole cargoes of seal- 
fat arrive, which is either boiled immediately in order to extract the 
oil, or is safely stored away in cellars. These cellars are long, floored, 
and furnished with four ventilators and several windows. Large oak- 
wood tubs, plated with lead on the inside, and capable of holding 700 
" pouds V (25,200 pounds) of oil each, are placed at intervals in holes 
dug in the ground. The oil which runs out from the seal-fat piled up 
in layers flows into these tubs by way of an inclined plane. The oil is 


then poured into barrels. In order that the skins, from which the fat 
has not yet been removed, may not spoil, they are salted again, just as 
it had been done on board the vessels ; 150 " pouds v (5,490 pounds) of 
salt being generally used for salting a thousand skins, and only 70 
" pouds n (2,520 pounds) per thousand for the final salting, before the 
skins are stored in the cellars. Kalmyks are employed chiefly to detach 
the fat from the skins. They spread the skin, with the fur down, on an 
inclined plank, which they lean against their breast, in order to have 
the free use of both< their hands. Then, armed with a two-handled 
knife, they scrape the fat from the skin. The oil, which is pure and 
clear, running down during this operation, flows into a reservoir let into 
the grouud, holding 400 " pouds," (14,400 pounds,) and forming a cube, 
each side of which measures one " sagene," (7 feet.) This work is 
extremely fatiguing. A strong and experienced Kalmyk can, how- 
ever, clean 500 or even 700 skins in a single day. The workmen form 
associations, sharing their labor and their gain. 

The fat is then melted in large tubs, where it is exposed to the action 
of steam. The oil flows through a funnel-shaped apparatus, and, finally, 
through pipes into immense oak-wood reservoirs. There are three such 
reservoirs connected by pipes, and let into the ground, so that the oil 
from the first flows into the second, and then into the third, from whence, 
through cocks, it passes into casks, which can be shipped as soon as 
filled. Each one of these reservoirs has a diameter of 3 u sagenes," (21 
feet,) a depth of 1 u sagene," (7 feet,) and can hold 4,800 " pouds " 
(172,000 pounds) of oil. 

The oil thus extracted forms the first quality. The second quality is 
obtained by melting the residue in caldrons, and by pressing it. The 
color of this oil is dark-brown. Before the residue is put into the cal- 
drons, (capable of holding 200 "pouds" (7,200 pounds) each, it is thrown 
into a receptacle with an inclined bottom, and the whole mass is stirred 
violently by means of wooden shovels. This is done in the sunlight, so 
that the heat may help to melt the mass. This receptacle is joined 
to the caldron by a large gutter, which is walled up in the furnace. 
Through this gutter, the residue is led into the caldron, there to melt, 
which done, the mass is taken out with dippers and cast into a box, 
which is then pressed. By mean's of this last operation, all the remain- 
ing oil contained in the residue is extracted. 

The oil-factory of the Sapojnikow Brothers formerly manufactured 
about 100,000 « pouds " (3,600,000 pounds) of seal-oil, which was sent 
to Moscow, where it was chiefly used in leather-factories ; but during 
the last fifteen years, this establishment has gone down considerably, 
and other wealthy Astrachan merchants, among them Messrs. Vlasow, 
Smoline, and Orekhow, have established several factories for making 
the oil. 

The skins of the seals are used for making knapsacks and for cover- 
ing valises. 


By A. I. Boeck AND A. Feddersen. 

Mr. A. Boeck, who for several years had conducted scientific re- 
searches for the Norwegian government in regard to the herring-fish- 
eries, was invited, on his return from the districts of Nordland and 
Tromso, in February, 1872, to deliver some lectures in Bergen on the 
spring-herring fisheries. Although the season was far advanced, the 
southern herring had not yet made its appearance, and fishermen and 
salters were in great doubt as to what they should do. Boeck's lectures 
were therefore received with special attention, and as they contain a 
great deal of valuable information, we present here copious extracts 
from them, following the account given in the "Bergens Adrcsseavis," 
(Bergen Advertiser,) and " Bergenposten," (Bergen Post,) for February, 
referring our readers at the same time to an article by A. Boeck, u Ae- 
eount of the Herring on the Coast of Nomvay and Bohuslan, v i (a province 
of Sweden,) published in the fifth annual volume of our journal, pp. 123 t 
et. seq. We also refer to A. Boeck's work "On the Herring and the Hev- 
ring- Fisheries^ especially on the Norwegian Spring-Herring." 

The herring is found, in Europe, from Spitzbergen to the west coast 
of France, and is caught in large numbers on the coasts of Scandinavia^ 
Great Britain, Ireland, Holland, and France. On the other side of the* 
Atlantic, they are caught from Greenland to the eastern coast of Amer- 
ica. In all those places where herring are found in large quantities,. 
and where people have become rich through these fisheries, the number 
caught has, at times, been exceedingly small, and for long periods tlm 
herring have disappeared entirely. This has not only been the case on 
the coast of Norway, but also in Bohuslan, (western coast of Sweden,} 
Scotland, Ireland, and France, and people have been reduced to want 
in consequence of the failure of the fisheries. 

In the present century, wheu science has made such rapid progress, 
and has, in manifold ways, become tributary to the comforts of life, and 
when many of the greatest inventions of modern times have sprung 
from the quiet and unostentatious researches of scientists, it was be- 

* Det Norske Sildefiske. Efter Referaterne af Stipendiat A. Boecks Foredrag i Bergen 
ved A. Feddersen; in Tidsskrift for Fiskeri. Udgivet af H. V. Fiedler og Arthur Fed- 
dersen. 7de Aargang. (Kjobenhavn. Jacob Erslers Boghandel. 1872.) pp. 1-40, 
Translated from the Danish by O. Jacobson. 

t Beretning ora Sildefisket ved den norske ogbohuslenske Kyst. 

t Om Silden og Sildefiskerierne, navnlig om det norske Voarsildfiske. 
7 V 


lieved that important results in regard to the herring-fisheries might 
also be secured by scientific investigation, and many problems be solved 
which had hitherto been doubtful. It was questionable, however, how 
far practical results could be hoped for, and how far the causes of the her- 
ring's disappearance could be ascertained and means be found to prevent 
it. Yarrell, the English scientist, lately deceased, said that the herring 
was a whimsical fish, which had no definite place in whish it could be ex- 
pected with certainty. The famous Danish ichthyologist Kroyer, who had 
for some time made scientific researches in this direction, in his great 
work, "The Fisli of Denmark?* makes use of these words : " How desir- 
able it is to gain more insight into the natural history of fish is strik- 
ingly illustrated by the herring, as many points in its mode of living are 
still unexplained, and many fabulous accounts are transmitted from one 
generation to another." The zoologist Van der Hoeven also dissuaded 
Boeck from occupying himself with these studies, as they would be pro- 
ductive neither of profit nor of honor. 

Several scientists have, however, opened the way for such researches. 
The French zoologists, Audouin and Milne-Edwards, traveled for sev- 
eral years on the coasts of France for the purpose of examining the 
fisheries scientifically; the only result of their researches, however, 
being a volume published in 1830 and containing chiefly statistics. The 
investigations made in Bohusliin, (western coast of Sweden,) by Profes- 
sor Nilsson, of the University of Lund, are of greater value. The her- 
ring had disappeared from that coast in 1808, after having been exceed- 
ingly plentiful for more than fifty years. Large sums of money had 
been employed in establishing salting-houses and oil- refineries, and the 
government had specially favored emigration to the coast of Bohuslan, 
where the herring-fisheries for a long time formed a fruitful source of 
income. No herring were found near the coast ; the merchants were 
idle; and fishermen and salters led a miserable life. Still, people hoped 
year after year for the return of the herring, and rumors were current 
that enormous quantities of fish were immediately outside the coast in 
the so called u Stor rende," (Great Channel.) The government assisted 
the fishermen, and 50,000 rigsdalers (about $25,000 gold) were spent in 
attempts to secure fish from this locality, (the u Stor rende.") Although 
all these efforts failed, it was still hoped that the herring would return, 
as scientists had expressed the opinion that only unfavorable circum- 
stances prevented their approach. The fish, however, did not return, 
and the former extensive fisheries were almost entirely abandoned. 
The local press zealously advocated new investigations, and Professor 
Nilsson began in Lund, in 1825, a series of researches. It is to be re- 
gretted that Mlsson could not begin this labor until eighteen years after 
the disappearance of the herring, and that he entered upon these inves- 
tigations with his opinions firmly fixed. He, therefore, met with much 
opposition. He renewed his investigations during the years 1828-'32, 

* Danuiark3 Fiske. 


and visited the Norwegian herring-fisheries, in order to compare them 
with the Swedish. He endeavors to prove, in his reports, that the her- 
ring does not come from the Polar Sea to the coasts of different conn- 
tries, but, as the well-known zoologist Bloch has remarked, has its per- 
manent place of abode near those coasts where it comes to spawn. He, 
therefore, thought that the Bohuslan herring never left the Skagerak, 
and had nothing to do with the Norwegian spring-herring, which was a 
totally different variety, and that the Bohuslan herring had, therefore, 
not emigrated to Norway. On the other hand, he at first thought, 
although he was not quite certain about it, that it had been completely 
exhausted by the fisheries. At a later date, he abandoned this opinion 
and supposed that the herring had only been driven away from the 
coast by the noise of singing and dancing in the fishing-huts, and 
remained at the bottom of the ocean ; and, finally, he came to the con- 
clusion that it was killed by the impurities of fish-oil which were thrown 
into the sea. He was also of the opinion that the herring would return, 
if the seines, by which all the young were caught, could be laid aside. 
As his opinions did not meet with general favor, a committee was 
appointed, consisting of Count Rosen, Professor Nilsson, and others, 
which traveled along the whole coast of Bohuslan from Gottenburg to 
Stromstad, and made numerous inquiries among the fishermen of the dif- 
ferent districts. Nilsson's reports, as well as the report of the commit- 
tee, and two memorials regarding the same matter by Professors Sunde- 
vall and Love*n, who concurred in Nilsson's opinion, were printed and 
distributed in large numbers. We shall have occasion, in the course of 
this article, to refer to these reports and memorials. 

The Dutch government commissioned Lieutenant Kraft to make exten- 
sive observations during several years, on the temperature during the 
season of the herring-fisheries, by means of which it was ascertained at 
what degree of warmth the greatest quantity of fish was caught. He 
then prepared a map showing where, at different times, the largest 
quantity and the best quality of herring were caught. This map was 
exhibited at the fishing-exposition held in Bergen in 1865. 

Observations have been made in England for some time by zoologists 
and scientists, mostly for the purpose of ascertaining whether the sup- 
position that the fishing-implements had anything to do in driving away 
the herring was correct or not, and they finally arrived at the conclusion 
that the great number of old laws which embarrassed the herring-fish- 
eries ought to be rescinded. 

In Denmark, Professor Kroyer has made a number of observations, 
only some of which, however, have been published in his work "ffish of 

Professor Mtinter, at Greifswalde, (province of Pomerania, Prussia,) 
has also made observations concerning the various species of Pomeranian 
herring, their food, and the temperature most favorable for spawning. 

These are the most important practical and scientific investigations 


of the herring-fisheries which had been made up to the year 1860, when 
the Storting, (the Norwegian parliament,) appropriated a sum for similar 
investigations on the coasts of Norway. Besides these, two investiga- 
tions of the fisheries have been commeuced on a large scale, the one by 
the imperial German government under the direction of Professor 
Mobius, for which a very considerable sum has been appropriated, and 
the other by the Government of the United States under the direction 
of Prof. Spencer F. Baird, LL.D., who, with several vounger scientists, 
is to examine the fisheries along the entire coast of the United States, 
for which purpose some Government steamers have been placed at his 

When Mr. Boeck was commissioned to examine the Norwegian herring- 
fisheries, he could, at first, only follow the same plan in his investiga- 
tions as other scientists before him had done; but he soon found that 
these investigations ought to be made on a very different scale, and in 
other directions, because he discovered that there were other natural 
phenomena which might influence the migrations of the herring. After 
having made himself acquainted with these natural phenomena, his atten* 
tion was naturally led to circumstances which had hitherto not been 
considered of any importance. The essential point in all such investi- 
gations is to gather as much material as possible in the shape of indis- 
putable facts. As these facts could not properly be gathered in a hurried 
manner, and as it was desirable at the same time to secure some result as 
soon as possible, Boeck proposed to adopt a provisional theory adapted 
to such facts as could be ascertained. He saw that two plans might be 
followed: one was to examine the migrations of fish in relation to 
meteorological changes, by exact historical data regarding the older 
fisheries from 1807 to 1852, when the government inspection commenced 
its reports ; the other, to gather facts from old and experienced fisher- 
men. Although the latter plan might seem to be of doubtful value, he 
soon found that such experience was by no means to be despised. Fish- 
ermen are more observant than many suppose. They think, see, and 
hear a great deal, and although their opinions are sometimes very fan- 
ciful, the true can readily be distinguished from the false, and so be 
made useful. Both plans, however, require to be corrected by scientific 
investigation. Boeck has adopted the following mode of procedure, 
endeavoring to accomplish his purpose both by observations and by 
historical researches: 

1. To make observations during the fishing-season on the currents 
and the temperature of the sea, the nature and form of the bottom, the 
migrations of the schools of herring, and the influence of these circum- 
stances on the time of their approaching the spawning-places. 

2. To collect the most accurate information possible on the migration 
of the herring, and on the meteorological changes which seem to have 
influenced it from its beginning, in 1807, until the government inspec- 
tion commenced. 


3. To endeavor to find out, by historical data, the migration of the 
herring -fisheries at large; how the mass of herring at one time ap- 
proached one part of the coast of Norway, and then another ; or how 
disappeared entirely ; and then to compare these facts with those gath- 
ered from other countries, and thus to ascertain if there be any connec- 
tion between the different herring-fisheries in Norway and other coun- 
tries ; and also to compare the fisheries of former times with those of 
the present, in order to ascertain if any satisfactory results could be 
reached with regard to their future condition. 

In accordance with this plan, Boeck has, during his sojourn of five 
years at the fishing-stations of Norway, made personal observations, and 
has also collected material from archives and libraries. He was greatly 
assisted in his observations by two citizens of Bergen, the consul Carl 
Konow, and the banker N. Nicolaysen, who permitted him to use two 
collections of carefully kept diaries regarding the herring-fisheries from 
the year 1835, which facts he partly supplemented by notes from Ben 
bcrgenslce Merlcur, (the Bergen Mercury,) and from Stiftstidenden, (the 
County Journal.) He finally obtained, through the firms of Kjelland & 
Son and Ploug & Sundt, in Stavauger, a series of observations made on 
the fisheries previous to the year 1835, which he likewise supplemented 
by a large amount of written and oral information derived from persons 
in Stavanger, Skudesnses, Kopervik, and Haugesund. From all this 
material there may be compiled a more or less complete account of the 
fisheries from 1808 down to 1852. 

Boeck has draughted, on a large scale, a map of the southern coast 
of Norway, from Sognefjord to Gotteuburg, and the northern part of 
Jutland. The depth of the sea along the coast is marked by lines in 
accordance with the information which he had received. Another map, 
on a much larger scale, embraces the coast from Espevser to Tungenaes. 
On this there are marked the channels and depths, together with sev- 
eral fishing-banks, to within a mile of the outer coast, which are not 
usually indicated on the coast maps, and which were carefully pointed 
out to Boeck by an old fisherman, Henrik Roevar, as well as by other 
fishermen from Syre and Utsire. The localities indicated on the map 
last mentioned are the ones to which he devoted special attention. He 
has chosen this locality, partly because at that time the fisheries were 
particularly productive in those places, the northern fishery having 
only just then begun to be of any importance, and the Sondmor fishery 
being still in its infancy ; and partly, because it has always been one of 
the chief places for catching spring herring. He has also continued his 
observations there in order to make them the more satisfactory. 

When Boeck first went to the fishing-grounds, he determined to follow 
the advice of the government inspector, which was to go out with the 
fishing-boats, and also to frequently visit the stations for salting. A 
fisherman, whose advice he followed, often spoke of putting the nets in 
the channels, and he found on inquiry, and by observations with the 


sounding line, that these channels are valleys at the bottom of the sea, 
running toward the coast in different directions. Having continued 
these observations for some time, he was able to corroborate the fisher- 
man's statement that at different times the herring follow certain chan- 
nels when they approach the coast for the purpose of spawniug. It 
would require too much time to describe the location of these channels 
in detail, and we hope that Boeck will, at some future day, publish 
these maps. In one of his lectures he mentioned a circumstance which 
fortunately was among the first to come under his observation, and 
which showed conclusively that, during the spawning time, the herring 
follow these channels ; and this he found to be the case invariably. He 
had made a great many soundings in the channel, extending between 
Eoser and Faeo and stretching toward Hauskeskser, and had placed a 
chain of nets across it. A large number of fish were caught all along 
this chain, while another chain, the greater part of whose nets stood on 
the rocks, with only one end reaching the channel, only caught fish in 
that portion which touched the channel. He also found it of the 
utmost importance, for the success of the herring-fisheries, to ascertain 
which channel the great school of herring follows when it comes in to 
spawn ; for several times he was able to designate with certainty the 
place where the fish would be on the following day, by knowing where 
large numbers were caught the preceding day. This, however, he could 
only do when storm or cold did not interfere with his calculations. He 
also convinced himself that if several nets are set in such a channel 
they do not interfere with each other, but that the herring push forward 
along the channel over and into the nets. 

Boeck finally drew attention to the so-called " flak," i. e., large level 
places at the bottom of the sea covered with rough gravel, which in 
calm weather are the herring's favorite spawning places. He raised 
with the dredge large lumps of roe and gravel intermixed. In these 
places the largest number of herring is invariably caught. 

The influence of wind on the fisheries was observed long ago, and the 
Swedish zoologist Ekstrom, and after him Nilsson, attach some im- 
portance to itj but in estimating the information obtained from fisher- 
men, they are not sure which wind is favorable for fishing, the one blow- 
ing from the coast or the one blowing toward it. The Dutch zoologists 
have not been able to discover that the direction of the wind has any 
special influence on the fisheries, except that a violent gale precludes 
all possibility of fishing. On the coast of Norway opinions are likewise 
very much divided on this point, some maintaining one thing, others 
another. By examining, however, all the annual observations made by 
the government inspector and by himself, Boeck found, that when the 
herring is out in the open sea a wind blowing toward the coast favors 
its approach, while when the herring are near to the coast its formation 
has to be taken into consideration. If, e. g., the herring occupy an area 
like the one opposite the southern part of Karmo, between Syre and 


Skude, and strong southwesterly gales rage for any length of time, tiey 
are prevented from reaching their usual spawning places, and remain a 
long time outside the channel for some more favorable opportunity. If, 
however, the storm continues, the herring generally pass into that part 
of the channel which, stretching by Skude, runs on into the sound of 
Karm. Fishing may then be carried on up to Salhus and to the end of 
the Forresfjord. Of this there are many instances as far back as 1815. 
From the accounts of the government inspector, it will be seen that 
this was the case in 1857, and most of us will recollect the great fish- 
eries of 1803. A southeasterly wind on this coast will have the same 
effect, but to a less degree. If the herring keep more toward the south 
near the Hviding Islands and Eoth, both strong southwest and north- 
west winds will prevent their approach to these islands. In that case 
the whole school passes by Tunge, and there may be good fishing 
directly up to Stavanger, as was the case in 1825. Similar facts will 
become apparent if we advance farther north and inquire into the like 

If the coast is exposed to strong winds blowing toward it, the herring 
do not approach it, and the fisheries, if they have commenced, are inter- 
rupted. Thus, rich fisheries far in the Bommelfjord beyoud Tittelsnaes, 
and even far beyond Nyleden, will be a consequence of continual storms, 
when the herring have been previously outside of Sletten or south of 
Espevaer. Of this there are many instances. Hence it will be seen 
that the point on which the question turns, is not whether the winds 
blow toward or from the coast, but what kind of wind prevails at the 
respective fishing-places, since a wind blowing toivard the coast may in 
oue place have the same effect as a wind blowing from the coast in 

The temperature of the air also exercises great influence on the fish- 
eries; and this influence has never been underrated, but has always 
been taken into account, although certain phenomena observed in the 
fisheries can not yet sufficiently be explained by it. Boeck drew atten- 
tion to the influence of temperature in his first report of 1801. It has 
been observed from time immemorial, that the fisheries are not as 
abundant in cold weather as when the bottom of the sea is disturbed by 
southerly winds. This has been proved by the experience of several 
centuries, but only recently have attempts been made to investigate 
this whole matter thoroughly and scientifically. Even Cuvier and Val- 
encienues in their great work on fish, in which the herring is discussed 
at much length, do not enter upon this question. Dutch scientists were 
the first to devote more attention to temperature, by making a series 
of observations, with the view of ascertaining during what degrees of 
temperature the herring-fishery is most prosperous. They found that 
more fish were caught at a temperature of from 12° to 14° Celsius, than 
at any other time. The Dutch herring-boats are therefore always sup- 
plied with a thermometer, which enables them to place the net at a 


proper depth. Professor Miinter discovered also that the higher the 
temperature of the water the deeper the herring keep during the spawning- 
time, for which reason the nets on the coasts of Pomerania are set deeper 
in summer than in spring. During his stay on the west coast of Norway, 
Boeck constantly noticed the temperature, and noted down a large number 
of observations during different years. In his report for 1862 he showed 
the influence of cold on the herring-fishery. In that year he examined 
the temperature at different depths. The weather had been calm, but 
a severe cold had prevailed for some time, by which the temperature of 
the sea at a depth of 10 fathoms had been brought as low as 1J° or 2° 
E6aumur, while at a depth of 30 fathoms it was from 3° to 4°. He no- 
ticed that same year, while present at the rich herring-fisheries near 
RovsBr and Skaareholmene, that some fishing-implements, which were 
placed at a depth of about 10 fathoms below the surface, and were held 
there by means of buoys, caught but few fish; while others, placed at 
the bottom in a depth of from 50 to 60 fathoms, caught a very large 
number. Seine-fishing was also very unproductive during that year, 
although the schools of herring came in in enormous numbers. The 
same was the case in 1864, and similar observations might be quoted 
indefinitely. If we examine these accounts we find frequent references 
to the fact that the cold prevented the herring from approaching. Thus 
it was extraordinarily cold in 1855, likewise in 1860; and in 1853 the 
<iold was so severe that the bays and inlets on the outer coast were 
frozen over, which happens but very rarely, and presupposes a long pe- 
riod of very low temperature. The cold was so severe that the fisher- 
men were obliged, after emptying their nets, to lay them in the water 
to prevent their freezing quite stiff, and in order that they might have 
them ready for use again in the evening. The herring-fishery was, not- 
withstanding this, successful, although the herring for quite a longtime 
remained out in the deep sea and would not approach the coast. A 
great many instances might also be quoted from observations made in 
former years and collected by Boeck. It will suffice to mention a few 
years, such as 1825, 1826, 1828, 1829, 1836, 1840, 1841, and 1844. In sev- 
eral of these years the cold was so severe that nearly all the bays were 
covered with ice, and in some years even the Bay of Bergen was so 
much obstructed that all communication was interrupted. Still the 
fisheries were good, and in some years even unusually so, although the 
sea had grown cool at a far greater depth and to a greater degree than 
during the preceding year ; for then the cold was not particularly se- 
vere, and the temperature, according to the observation of the govern- 
ment inspector, was 1° at a depth of 10 fathoms. Boeck thinks, there- 
fore, that the failure of the fisheries the year before cannot at all be 
ascribed to the cold. He found that in calm weather the herring seldom 
approaches the coast except in small numbers when chased by the had- 
dock, while the chief fishery always commences when a southwesterly or 
northwesterly wind has stirred up the sea and mingled the lower and 


warmer water with the upper and colder. Of this, Boeck gives many 
examples, partly from his own observations and partly from those of 
the government inspector. It is important to keep this in mind when- 
ever the influence of the cold is spoken of. 

From all this it will be seen that neither the character of the bottom 
of the sea, nor the direction or force of the wind, nor the temperature of 
the air and sea by themselves, exercise an influence on the fisheries suffi- 
ciently great to cause their cessation, but that these various influences 
only modify the time and place of the fisheries. The schools of herring 
that come in from the ocean, seek the coast notwithstanding these influ- 

The question, " Where does the spring-herring keep itself, when it is 
not near the coast f has been discussed from the earliest times. Shortly 
before the fisheries commence, the herring may be seen approaching the 
coast, followed by whales, and the sea then frequently appears quite 
green from the large masses of fish seen near the surface. After the 
herring has spawned and gone out into the sea, it disappears. In very 
early times it was supposed that the Polar Sea was the true home of the 
herring. The Dutch fishermen on the Shetland Islands noticed that it 
came from the north. It also approached the coasts of Scotland from 
the north. The Irish saw the herring pass their coasts from north to 
south, and the same was observed on the coasts of Norway. It is there- 
fore not at all astonishing that its home was supposed to be in the north, 
and that the Polar Sea, which, according to the strange fancies of those 
times, hid so many wonders, was the place from which the herring emi- 
grated every year. The English writer, Dodd, in a book entitled " Atlas 
Maritimus et Commercialism* published in 1728, started the theory that 
the herring emigrates from the Polar Sea. But this theory is brought 
out in a clearer and more attractive manner in a work by Johann Ander- 
son, burgomaster of Hamburg, and well known for his learning, entitled 
* l Nachrichtenvon Island, Gronlandf &c, Hamburg, 1746, {Account of Ice- 
land, Greenland, &c.,) which appeared in a Danish translation in the year 
1784. He first remarks that several well-known persons had seen her- 
ring and the bones of herring lying on the rocks of the coast of Green- 
land. He then shows that the whale, the seal, and the porpoise, whose 
favorite food is the herring, have their home in those Arctic seas, and 
that, therefore, the herring must be found there. Far up toward the 
North Pole, under the broad, icy plain, which never melts, the herring 
was supposed to live quietly, because neither whales, sharks, nor men 
could pursue it there ; there it also spawned and increased in such num- 
bers that the Polar Sea became too narrow for them, and thence colonies, 
compelled by actual necessity, emigrated toward the south, just as bees 
swarm in summer. When such a school of herring issues forth from its 
icy home, it is immediately attacked by its enemies, who pursue it dur- 

* See, also, Dodd (J. S.) Essay towards a Natural History of the Herring. London* 
1752.— Ed. 


ing its passage to the south, and finally drive it into the bays and inlets 
where it is caught. Daring its passage southward, it dispatches t\vo 
flank divisions, the right flank toward the coast of Iceland, of whose 
fate Anderson does not speak in his book, while he does state that the 
great mass of tbe herring, when near the coast of Norway, divides into 
two columns, one of which goes toward the coasts of Scotland and En- 
gland, where it is for the greater part captured by the fishermen of those 
countries ; while some are driven partly along the eastern coast of En- 
gland, and partly along the coast of Ireland, till they finally meet in the 
English Channel, where they are caught by the French fishermen. That 
school, which, it was conjectured, passed toward Norway, continued its 
journey along the coast of that country. Some pass through the sound 
and belts into the Baltic, where the Swedes and Prussians are ready 
to receive them ; another portion of the school follows the coasts of Den- 
mark, Germany, and Holland, while the remainder reach the Atlantic, 
where they disappear. 

This theory became so popular that it has been handed down from 
one writer to another, even to our time, and has intrenched itself even 
in text-books on natural history. It met, however, with some opposi- 
tion, and Bioch, who published in 1782 his book entitled " OeJconomische 
Naturgeschichte der Msche Deutschlands," (Economical Natural History 
of the Fish of Germany,) a work very remarkable for its time, raises 
many weighty objections to it. He first showed that the herring is not 
so common in the northern countries as was generally supposed, and 
that it was impossible for it to travel so many thousands of miles in 
the short period between spring and autumn. Besides, the herring is 
found at all times of the year in the Baltic and on the coasts of Nor- 
way, and the Dutch continue their herring-fisheries even throughout 
the entire winter until spring. It would also be very remarkable if just 
the smallest herring should make the longest journey far down to the 
Baltic. But as Bloch's books were not popular, being only intended 
for scientists, his opinions did not become widely known. An Amer- 
ican by the name of Gilpin,* went even beyond Anderson in promul- 
gating another fanciful migration theory. He showed that herring 
were also caught in America, and that here it first approached the 
coast of Florida, and then, passing along Virginia, went as far as New- 
foundland, moving, therefore, from south to north, and thus differing 
from its direction in Europe. The American herring must, therefore, 
come from schools out of the English Channel ; and his theory was that 
the herring, in the course of a year, described in his migration an ellipse 
of not less than forty-seven degrees of latitude, crossing the Atlantic 
twice a year, the first time to escape the strong heat in the south, and 

* Gilpin, John, " On the Annual Passage of Herrings," Transactions Amer. Phil. Sue., 
II, (1786,) p. 236-239. 


the second time the severe cold in the north.* Kroyer thinks that if there 
were any probability in this theory, the herring might justly be compared 
to the Wandering Jew, who travels unceasingly without finding rest. 
This theory, however, has not found many advocates outside of Amer- 
ica,! and is of no value since it has been proved that the American her- 
ring is a species different from ours. 

Anderson's theory was violently attacked by Mlsson in 1S26 and 1S2S, 
who, like Bloch, proved that the herring could not possible live deep 
under the ice in the Polar Sea, and much less spawn, as the roe 
would there miss the most essential conditions for its development, viz, 
light and warmth. Although the herring was seen to come from the 
north, it need not necessarily come from the Polar Sea, as it could not 
possibly travel the long distance of more than a thousand miles, as An- 
derson maintained that it did. He showed, besides, that on the coasts 
of Sweden there was found a great number of varieties, which never 
leave that part of the sea where they are born, (such as the " Strom- 
niing," which is found in the Gulf of Bothnia,) while farther toward the 
south other varieties of the herring are found, those from the western 
coast being easily distinguished from those of the southern. On the 
coast of Norway, also, different species of herring are found, which 
again differ from the Scotch and Dutch herring. Nilsson, therefore, 
thought it beyond a doubt that the herring does not come from one 
great common tribe, but that every race has its home cstside that 
coast where it goes to spawn; and that it has its regular dwelling-place 
in the open sea near such coast. He thus thinks that the Gottenburg 
herring, which came into the inlets-of Bohuslau in such extraordinary 
large numbers prior to the year 1808, and of which, e. g., in the year 1870, 
more than one and a half million tons were caught, (which, by the way, 
was only a very insignificant portion of the whole mass of herring which 
had gathered there,) has its permanent home in the Skagerak, which is 
neither very deep nor of very great extent. Guvier and Valenciennes, 
also, showed that on the northern coast of France, and not far apart, 
there were two such tribes of herring, each of which had its separate 
home in certain basins of the open sea, and that these tribes never in- 
termingled. Miinter is also able to show that there is on the coast of 
Pomerania one tribe of herring which spawns in the autumn, and an- 
other which spawns in the spring, differing greatly from each other, 
although the basins of the sea near the coast where they live are 
fxarcely more thau a mile apart. Another proof of the theory that 
every race of herring has its special dwelling-place in the sea, which 
it does not leave, except when it approaches the coast for the purpose 

* This " theory " was the result of a confusion of two very different fishes under the 
same name — Culpca harengus and Pomolobus pseudoharengus — one of which is the true 
sea-herring, and the other an anadromous species whose ascent of the rivers coincides 
with the advancing temperature of the new year, and therefore with the latitude— 
B. P. B. 

t The only avowed advocate of the "theory" in America was the originator. — Ed. 


of spawning, is the fact that the herring is not able to swim very far, 
since neither the structure of its muscles nor fins is adapted for this 
purpose. Immediately outside the coast there are small banks on which 
the fishermen catch cod and other fish, and from these banks the bot- 
tom often shelves off with great abruptness to a depth of sea which in 
some places reaches from four to five hundred fathoms, and which, in 
the shape of a deep channel, varying in breadth from fifteen to twenty 
miles, stretches from Sognefjord in a southerly direction along the coast 
of Norway, making a sharp turn at Lindesnses, and extending from that 
point to the mouth of the bay of Christiania. In some places its depth 
is from four to five hundred fathoms, and deep channels branch of from 
it toward the mouths of the great bays and inlets on the coast of Nor- 
way. In the Skagerak this deep channel is much narrower, and reaches 
its greatest depth in the neighborhood of Arendal, while higher banks 
stretch along as far as the northern point of Jutland. It is found near 
Fedge that, at a distance of twenty miles from land, the bottom of the 
sea rises up to 70 fathoms, and immediately afterward to between GO 
and 50, and all sailors know well how the North Sea rises toward the 
coasts of England. 

North of a line drawn from the mouth of the Sagnefjord to the Shet- 
land Islands, the deep sea extends from the coasts of Norway as far as 
Iceland and Greenland, and only north of Stat are banks again found 
outside the coast. It will thus be seen that the herring may very well 
live in that great and deep sea when they do not linger near the coast. 
That they live there, may also be argued from the fact that Nilson has 
found large quantities of herring in the stomachs of haddock caught out 
in the deep sea. Boeck has likewise found proofs that the herring 
lives in very deep water, when not near the coast. He has repeatedly 
examined the stomachs of herring, and, though he found but few 
remains of food, there were, among these, fragments of crustaceous ani- 
mals living in the great deep. By means of the dredge he has caught 
the animals at various depths, from the surface to a point three hundred 
fathoms below it, and has specially examined those species which serve as 
food for fish. Through investigations continued during several years, 
he found that certain species of crustaceous animals (copepods) always 
keep at a certain depth, and in such a manner that those living near 
the surface. are never found at a depth of fifty or sixty fathoms; and 
that those which live in the deep are never found near the surface. The 
euchaeta kind forms the favorite food of the spring herring, when it is 
not near the coast of Norway ; and this is never found at a depth of 
less than two or three hundred fathoms. The herring must, therefore, 
in Boeck 's opinion, live at that depth, which is not very far from the 
coast. He was several times informed by fishermen, especially in 1861, 
1864, and 1866, that they, when at a distance from the coast, varying 
between five and twenty English miles, and in different places, such as 
to the northwest of Utsire and Sartoro, had sailed through great masses 


of herring, which, as they thought, had risen from the bottom of the 
sea in order to move toward the coast. Some fishermen also showed 
him herring which had been cast on deck by the waves. Boeck is dis- 
posed to concur in Nilson's opinion that the herring never makes long 
journeys, but that that school, which, during the time of the southern 
herring-fishery seeks the coast of Norway, keeps out in the deep near 
that coast. Cuvierand Valenciennes are of the same opinion, for they 
have, as already mentioned, proved that on the northern coast of France, 
two species of herring are found not very far aparr, which are easily 
distinguished from each other in the Paris fish-market. These herring 
are brought to Paris from two villages on the coast adjacent to each 
other, and they are never mistaken for each other. Their abodes are 
two different basins near the coast. 

Bceck then proceeds to speak of the causes which impel the herring 
to approach the shore. It is well known that it comes there to spawn ; 
and daring the spring -fisheries the largest number caught are herring 
about to spawn. The stomach of the herring is empty during this whole 
period, so that it evidently cannot be its intention to seek food at that 
time, Its desire to propagate dominates for the time being over all other 
desires, and it seeks places against which it can press its abdomen, and 
thus make the spawn flow more readily. It does not at all avoid the 
nets, but seems rather to seek them, of which fact interesting proofs may 
frequently be seen, such as, that the herring will squeeze itself into the 
meshes of the net if they are too small to receive it easily. The entire 
herring-fishery of Norway is limited to catching the herring when about 
to spawn, which is in marked contrast with the fact that in almost every 
other country it is supposed that catching fish during the spawning sea- 
son ruins the fishery. In every roe-herring which is caught 68,000 eggs 
are prevented from developing, and it may easily be imagined that enor- 
mous numbers of unborn fish are destroyed by the spring-fisheries. If 
the sea did not contain such incredible numbers of them, one year's 
fishery would entirely destroy the whole species. The empty herring 
never approach the nets, and are caught only occasionally, since they no 
longer feel the need of pressing against anything. 

In the opinion of several scientists, such as Professors Sundevall and 
Loven, every herring is instinctively led to return to the place where it 
was born, although it be only an island of the smallest dimensions j and 
that it seeks another place for spawning only when driven away. This 
opinion is chiefly based on observations of the same habit in the salmon, 
which always seeks the identical place of its birth. 

A writer in the "Morgenbladet," (The Horning Journal,) some years 
ago, endeavored to prove that those herring which, six years before, 
were born in a certain spot, returned to it, and that the fishery would 
always be abundant in the same place after the above-mentioned period, 
and cited as evidence some extracts from the government inspectors' 
accounts. This proved a very interesting subject for investigation to 


Boeck, and he determined to make it very thorough and extend it over 
a great many localities. He soon arrived at another result, by using, 
first, the accounts of the government inspectors ; and, secondly, the 
very minute information regarding the fisheries which he had collected 
prior to 1852. By thus marking all the places where herring-fisheries 
had been carried on, and by noting every year where the herring had 
approached the coast, he found that there were so many exceptions to 
these six-year periods, that in several places their number by far ex- 
ceeded the rule ; and the same was the case in any period selected at 
random from one to seven years. Boeck can, therefore, see no law of 
nature in this, and thinks that the herring does not return to the places 
from which it came with the same certainty as the salmon does. The 
approach of the herring, in his opinion, depends on the three conditions 
mentioned above, viz, the channels, the wind, and the temperature. The 
age of the herring when it approaches the coast to spawn for the first 
time, belongs to that line of investigations which Boeck has not been 
able to complete. Nowhere, as yet, has this been accurately ascertained. 
Some have maintained, but without being able to furnish proof, that 
the age of the herring, when it spawns for the first time on the 
coast, varies between one-half and seven years. Boeck is in doubt, 
whether the herring when fully capable of spawning is exactly six years 
of age; but he has likewise no means of establishing his own opinion 
that it is only between three and four years old. He merely remarks 
that too little attention has been given to the fact that the herring when 
it spawns has by no means reached its full size, and. he has found her- 
ring eight inches long which contained roe and milk. 

Boeck also spoke of the so-called "signs," which in earlier times were 
closely observed, but to which, at present, little importance is attached. 
In those early days fishermen thought that all the phenomena which 
they observed in the sky and the sea must necessarily have some con- 
nection with their most important occupation; and we find that there 
were autumn, winter, and spring signs. Some of these signs for the 
autumn and winter consisted in the color of the sea, the redness of the 
sky, the kind of. lower animals with which the sea swarmed, and evei 
the roaring of the whales, and the rising of the salmon in the mountain- 
streams. The well-known Norwegian clergyman, Rev. C. Hertzberg, 
has, in the "Budstikken" {the Messenger) for 1821, written an essay on 
this subject, entitled "On the Spring-herring and the Signs of its Coming J 7 
At present, however, people have lost all trust in most of these signs, 
and rely only on appearances furnished by the whale, by certain birds, 
and by the codfish, which, in many respects, furnish important tokens 
of the herring's approach. When the time of the herring fishery is near, 
different kinds of sea-gulls gather in larger numbers than usual; but it 
is not until the herring comes near the shore and near the surface of the 
water that these birds can find food among them, and thereby indicate, 
with greater accuracy, the locality of the fish. The case is different 



with the whale and the codfish, whose element is the sea, and who can 
follow the herring far below the surface. These therefore give more 
trustworthy signs of the herring's whereabouts than the birds; but, in 
pursuing the schools of herring, there is also a difference between the 
whale and the codfish which it may be interesting to notice. The whale 
can easily be distinguished, even when far out in the sea, as it is obliged 
to come frequently to the surface for the purpose of breathing, while the 
codfish always keeps below the surface, and can only be seen when caught. 
Both of these, while following the " herring mountain," for the purpose 
of obtaining food, may, however, furnish useful signs forjudging of the 
probable condition of the herring fishery. The whale invariably keeps 
outside the great schools of herring, along the edges, never attempting 
to penetrate any farther. It is, therefore, an auspicious sign for the 
fishermen when they see whales in a wide circle, round some well-known 
fishing-place. They then know that the herring are approaching the 
shore in dense masses, and they may justly expect a rich harvest. In 
the year 1862, Boeck saw whales, in a long and imposing line, stretch 
from the northwest of Bovser as far as Utsire, and on the following day 
the fisheries commenced near Bovser and along the entire coast. If, 
on the other hand, the whales are seen to spread over a large area, or 
in small numbers, it is safe to predict that the herring will not approach 
certain places in large masses, but that they will be scattered, and thus 
the schools be smaller. If, after the fishery has been going on for some 
time, the whales are seen near the coast in the spawning places, it is 
absolutely certain that the herring are leaving the coast, although on 
that day fishing may be very good. In the same year, 1862, remarkable 
examples of the truthfulness of these phenomena were witnessed. The 
codfish does not exercise the same influence on the masses of herring 
that the whale does. Being a very greedy fish of prey, it plunges into 
the school of herring, scatters them, if possible, surrounds the fright- 
ened fish on all sides, pursues them fiercely, and often drives them to- 
ward the shore long before the chief mass of the school reaches there. 
The approach of such smaller scattered schools, before the fisheries 
commence, are termed, by the Norwegian fishermen, "sejejag," (codfish- 
chase.) When the school approaches the shore, the codfish is found 
not only on its edge, but in the middle of it; and if codfish are caught 
having herring in their stomachs, it is a sign that the herring fishery is 
near at hand. Of the greediness of the codfish, and its power to scatter 
the herring-schools, amusing illustrations may frequently be seen in the 
full seines. This sight is, however, more amusing to the spectator than 
to the owner of the seine, as it frequently happens that the scared her- 
ring press the seine down so heavily as to allow them to escape. Seine- 
fishermen are, therefore, afraid of the codfish. If the schools are already 
scattered before coming near the shore, the codfish is found mixed with 
the herring during the whole fishing season ; and it is not a sign of 


favorable fishing -when, in the beginning of the season, codfish are 
caught with the herring. 

The herring may also be observed spawning within the nets ; and, 
when it is free, it spawns in inlets and on the large flat places at the 
bottom of the sea, which are covered with rough gravel, (" flak,") where 
the roe sometimes lies in such enormous quantities as to fill the dredge en- 
tirely, when cast in such places. This roe does not, however, lie loose, 
but is firmly pasted to the bottom by a peculiar glutiuous substance 
which hardens in the course of half an hour, and which, with the rough 
gravel, forms large cakes. It may happen that violent storms disturb 
the bottom to such a degree as to tear off the masses of roe, and Boeck 
relates a very interesting case of this kind. One year such an enor- 
mous mass of herring-roe was driven by storms up the Jseder Bay that 
cart-loads of it were taken away to be used as a fertilizer for the fields, 
and hogs also fed on it for many days. In these masses of roe the eggs 
have a certain invariable position, with an opening in the shell of the 
egg^ and the so-called u micropyle" turned upward, so that the fructi- 
fying male semen can enter easily. The male fish pour their milt (se- 
men) over the masses of roe which have been deposited by the females, 
and it is therefore evident that in their approach the females precede 
the males. In the commencement of the fisheries more females will be 
caught, and toward the end more males. This was the case near 
Skaareholmene, and may be a fact of practical value. Alter there had 
been very good fishing for some time, one day the greater part of the 
herring brought to the salting-houses were found to be male fish. Boeck 
was therefore of the opinion that the approach of the herring had 
ceased. This was really the case, and it was not at all necessary to 
explain this circumstance, as was attempted at the time, by a steamer 
having scared away the herring by the noise of its machinery. 

Boeck did not undertake to describe minutely the development of the 
embryo in all its stages, although it forms a subject for exceedingly in- 
teresting investigation, to observe how it is formed from the egg-, how 
the organs by degrees grow together ; how the heart begins to beat and 
the blood to flow. But as all this could not throw any more light on 
the main question, viz, "whether the spring fisheries are to disappear 
from the southern fishing-places," Boeck passed over it very briefly. 
He did say, however, that when the herring emerges from the egg it 
differs so much in its shape from the grown herring that it resembles 
rather an eel; and even after it is a month old its shape is not at all 
like that of the mature herring. In fact, the difference between the 
young and the old fish is even much greater than that existing between 
different species of herring. 

Boeck also referred to a few species of herriug, concerning which 
opinions have been divided, viz, the great herring and the spring her- 
ring. He exhibited a drawing of a great herring from Langeuass, 
and another of a large spring-herring from Brono. With regard to 


the shape of the great herring, it will be found that the upper out- 
line from the end of the head to the beginning of the back fin is 
curved, while in the spring-herring it is straight. Its greatest height 
also is, in proportion to its length, more than that of the spring-herring j 
and if two equally large specimens are compared, it will be seen that in 
the great herring the back immediately in front of the back finis much 
broader than that of the spring-herriog, and that the outline of the 
belly in the latter is less curved. Boeck has not been able, except in 
these respects, to discover any difference, although he was told that, 
according to popular opinion, there was a great difference between these 
two kinds of herring. Several years ago he was offered an opportunity 
in Haugesund to examine and compare both kinds with great minute- 
ness. A merchant from Nordland brought a quantity of great herring 
to Haugesund to be exported. The government officials demanded the 
usual spring-herring tax on these fish, which the merchant refused to 
pay, as they were not spring-herring, and as he had already paid tax 
on them in Nordland. The government officials wished in this case that 
Boeck would furnish some sure and easily marked characteristics by 
which the great herring could be distinguished from the spring-herring. 
He found this at the time to be impracticable, although he examined a 
great number of both kinds. But when he heard that several persons 
considered themselves capable of determining in what the difference 
consisted, he had an interview with them, at which one said that one 
important difference was, that the membrane of the belly is white in the 
great herring, but black in the spring-herring. This, however, was 
found to be only partially the case in some pressed and salted great 
herring, while with all the others not the least difference could be dis- 
covered. Another said there was a difference in the scales, but the cause 
of this was that the great herring, by a less careful treatment, were de- 
prived of its scales, while they were found in the spring-herring. There 
was therefore not a single point by means of which these two kinds of 
herring could be absolutely distinguished, with the exception of the cir- 
cumstances mentioned above, and these were due simply to the superior 
fatness of the great herring. Some time after this, however, a charac- 
istic was mentioned by which both kinds it was thought could easily be 
discriminated. It was affirmed that the great herring was destitute, it 
was said, of certain bones in the back, which the spring-herring had. 
Boeck, on hearing this, thought it highly improbable, as the structural 
forms of the different kinds of herring had been carefully examined, and 
the conclusion reached that they are entirely the same in most kinds 
inhabiting the northern hemisphere ; while only a few exceptions are 
found in those of the southern hemis»phere. The "procesus spinosus 
superior" is double in the herring, which is not the case, for example, 
with the haddock. On the sides of this bone there are seen two fine 
bones, and the argument turns on the question whether these are found or 

not. If we examine, however, a great herring minutely, these bones 
8 F 


are found just as in the spring-herring ; but they are frequently over- 
looked, because the flesh of the great herring is much fatter and looser, 
and in cutting through its back the knife will easily pass through these 
soft bones; while in the spring-herring, whose flesh is less fat and there- 
fore apparently coarser aud harder, the kuife will not pass through so 
readily, but will glide along the bone when it meets it. In carefully 
cutting open the fish, the two bones above mentioned will easily be found 
in both kinds. 

Of all the assumed distinguishing marks, then, between the great 
herring and the spring-herring, only the greater fatness of the former 
remains. It might be thought that this fatness is caused by the better 
food which the great herring finds at the greater depth of its abode; 
but this cannot be the sole reason. Indeed, there is another and more 
important cause of this phenomenon. In seeing the great herring lying 
in the boat after it has been caught, one is immediately struck by its 
smooth and beautiful appearance ; while the spring-herring, under the 
same circumstances, is frequently covered with a filthy slime, a mixture 
of roe and milk, and in pressing the belly of a spring-herring a stream 
either of roe or milk flows out, which is not at all the case with the great 
herring. In opening both, one finds that in the female spring-herring 
the roe-bags are coarse-grained and soft ; while in the female great her- 
ring they are fine-grained aud hard. It might be supposed that this is 
a specific difference between them, which, however, is not the case, since 
it is only caused by the roe-bags being more developed in the spring- 
herring than in the great herring. In taking the roe-bag of the spring- 
herring, especially that of a salted one, as its structure can be more easily 
distinguished, one will find, on opening it with a fine pin, that the roe- 
bags are not what one would suppose them to be — bags filled with eggs — 
but that their structure is more complicated. With the aid of the pin, 
one will easily be able to lay open and follow up certain fine vessels in 
which the eggs seem to lie, and this is actually the case. The whole roe- 
bag consists of an infinite number of fine tubes, which, perhaps, can 
best be compared to greatly-elongated fingered gloves lying exceedingly 
close to each other and connected by the so-called " binding texure,' 
which is sometimes hard and stiff and sometimes soft. Where, to con- 
tinue the figure, the fingers of the glove would join that space which is 
occupied by the hand, a channel leads the eggs out along the whole 
length of the roe-bag, and its continuation is another channel which 
opens in front of the dorsal fin. In the finger-shaped channels, the eggs 
develop from small cells which gradually grow larger. In the great 
herring, the egg-cells are very small, and the egg-tubes are connected 
with each other by a thick layer of binding texture filled with fine blood- 
vessels. In the spring-herring the egg-cells are more than four times 
as large ; the egg- tubes are very thin and fine, and there is scarcely any 
binding texture. In breaking the roe-bag of the great herring in the 
middle, it seems to consist only of a somewhat brittle- grained mass ; 


while in the spring-herring, it is softer and tougher. There is, therefore, 
no other difference between the roe-bags of the great herring and those 
of the spring-herring, than that the roe-bag of the former is less de- 
veloped than that of the latter. In the early part of the fisheries, the 
roe-bag of the great herring is least developed, while toward the end, cer- 
tainly in those caught near Selsovik, it is much more developed and 
softer, and we even find herring among tbem which are ready to spawn, 
The first herring is, on the other hand, much fatter than this last from 
Selsovik, from which it is evident that the fatness decreases in propor- 
tion as the sexual organs develop. When the herring comes in from 
the sea in order to spawn, it, like the haddock, takes no food during the 
spawniug time, and must, therefore, secure the material which is neces- 
sary for the development of the roe-bags from its own body ; it there- 
fore grows thin in proportion as the sexual organs develop. 

Boeck met with a beautiful illustration of this in a great herring from 
Skarsfjord, six miles north of Tromso. Among the great herring which 
he had occasion to examine there, he saw one that was much fatter than 
the other, and which, on account of its size and beauty, he determined 
to take home and preserve in alcohol, but he finally opened it to ascer- 
tain the cause of its excessive fatness. He found that the herring was 
a male, and that the right milt was well developed, while, on the left 
side, only small traces of milt were found. He then observed that an 
intestinal worm had taken up its abode in the left milt, and had hin- 
dered its development. On the same side were found large stripes of 
fat twisted around the digestive channels ; and as this herring had thus 
not been able to develop its whole milt, it was not obliged to use all 
the fat in its body, so that some of it lay on that side where there was 
room for it. Hence it is clear that in this respect there is no difference 
between the great herring and the spring-herring. He was told by old 
seine-fishermen that during the first year of the spring-herring fisheries 
this herring did not approach the coast in a condition ready for spawning, 
but that it became so only toward the end of the fishery, and that then 
the herring was much fatter than it is now. Perhaps there is a similar 
chauge in store for the great-herring fisheries, so that after some years 
the great herring will also come near the coast better prepared for spawn- 
ing, and will consequently be less fat. 

Boeck then gave his opinion on the probable future of the spring- 
herring fisheries in the so-called southern fishing-places, where he had 
made a number of observations. In what he said he did not wish to 
assume the character of a prophet ; he would only give facts, both for 
and against, and he would, as he had done before, leave it to each one 
of his hearers to draw from these facts the conclusions that seemed to 
him most correct. Four years ago, when the fishery was still good, he 
had warned people not to put too much faith in its continued success, 
and not to expend too large sums in the erection of new salting-houses, 
or the extension of old ones. At that time his warnings were received 


unfavorably, as the practical fishermen entertained different opinions, 
and thought that scientific investigations were of no use as regards the 
spring-herring fisheries. Many also thought that care should be taken 
not to say anything which would alarm people in prosecuting their 
labors. Boeck, nevertheless, deemed it his duty, first privately, and 
then publicly, in his work " On the Herring and the Herring-Fisheries," to 
make known the results of his investigations, which he thought were of 
great importance to the fishermen. If the spring-herring disappeared, 
and his predictions thus became true, he deserved the thanks of all for 
having given timely warning of the evil impending; and if his advice 
had been heeded, thousands of dollars might have been saved, which 
otherwise must be lost in a trade that was doomed to disappear. People 
ought not to rely too confidently on the spring-herring fishery as a con- 
stant source of income. In examining the history of the fisheries, it 
would be seen that at times they had been very productive, and then, 
again, had dwindled down to almost nothing. The fisheries had been 
abundant during the reigns of Hakon Adelsten and Olaf Trygvason j 
also, from 1217 to 1340, during which period the spring-herring fishery 
was of such importance that the law of Magnus Lagaboter contains sev- 
eral paragraphs in reference to them ; then again, from 1559 to 1572 ; 
from 1640 to 1688 ; from 1698 to 1784; and finally our period, from 1S07 
till the present time. It will thus be seen that the herring can disap- 
pear, and that the fisheries can decrease. But now comes the important 
question, " What can be the cause of this?" Two classes of causes were 
assigned. The mass of herring has either decreased by being caught in 
too profuse a manner, by being devoured by fish of prey, or by being 
destroyed in some other manner, or else the schools of herring have wan- 
dered to other places. Professor Nilsson seemed, in the beginning, favor- 
able to the causes first named, but later, he has decided against them, 
chiefly on the ground of better information. Government Inspector 
Widegren, however, still clings to them. Boeck himself does not believe 
that the mass of spring-herring has decreased, but thinks that they no 
longer approach the shore. 

Wherever the herring-fisheries have disappeared the fishermen have 
been left in great want and the merchants have lost an important 
source of income. In consequence of the cessation of the fisheries the 
country has suffered directly and indirectly, and it is therefore not to 
be wondered at that people in ail classes of society have thought over 
the matter and have tried to discover the cause of the decay. Many 
reasons were assigned, but none seemed to be plausible. What was 
given as the cause of the herring's disappearance in one place was 
found not to be the cause in another. Laws have thus been based on 
very vague suppositions, and large sums have been expended for carry- 
ing on the fishery according to new and hitherto unknown methods j 
such as by stationary nets in the deep sea, or by drag-nets, but all in 
vain. The promises of learned men proved futile, and hope aloue kept 


up tbe courage of the fishermen and merchants. In earlier times, when 
people did not seek the cause of various phenomena in nature, but 
judged thiugs by their appearances, it was thought that God had 
blighted the herring-fishery, because men had become ungrateful and 
abused his gifts. Sometimes special causes were assigned for the 
Divine wrath, and Absalon Pedersen Beyer thought that the herring- 
fishery disappeared because Gristopher Walkendorph had taken tithes 
away from the clergy and used them for building purposes. Even in 
our own days, (1835,) we see something similar to this, in the fact that 
several members of the British Parliament declared in the House of 
Commons that the herring had disappeared from a place on the coast 
of Ireland because a priest had demanded tithes of his parishioners. 
Casper Seatus tells us, that in the year 1830 the herring left Heligoland, 
where at that time about two thousand people gained their living from 
the fisheries, because some young men, in mere wantonness, had cruelly 
abused a herring. In Stavanger, according to the account of Professor 
Kroyer, the fishermen, in the year 1830, did not allow a wealthy citizen 
to hold a masked ball in his own house, for they thought that this would 
vex the Deity, and that as a punishment He would cause the herring 
to leave the place. 

When this superstitious belief yielded to the better suggestions of 
the understanding, the decay of the herring-fisheries was sought for 
in natural causes. In former times it was believed that noise could 
drive the herring away, and, in 1580, to shoot on board ships was pro- 
hibited at Bohuslan. This belief was common even in later days. Thus 
it was thought that the herring left Bohuslan in 1697 in consequence 
of the discharge of the guns during a naval engagement, (in the war 
between the Swedes and Danes ;) and the disappearance of the herring 
from Dynekilur (a gulf on the coast of Sweden) was generally ascribed to 
the guns of Tordenskjold's (a Danish admiral) fleet. When the herring 
returned in 1750 a law of 1756 fixed a penalty of 500 rigsdalers ($250 
gold) for discharging a gun from any fortress on the coast, on men-of- 
i war, and on merchant-vessels during the period when the herring was 
approaching ; and as late as 1808 the thunder of guns (in the war 
between Denmark and England) was considered the cause of the herring's 
disappearance. Even now the herring fishermen do not like the noise 
of the steamers, and in 1862 they were not permitted to cross the Silde- 
fjord near Karmo. In Bamsdalen steamers were not considered so obnox- 
ious, and during the great-herring fisheries no instance is on record of 
the herring having been driven away by the constant passing and re- 
passing of steamers. In Scotland careful observations have shown that 
the herring has disappeared from bays which have never been touched 
by a steamer, and have remained in some portions of the sea where 
steamers pass daily. Professor Nilsson considers all noise detrimental 
to the herring-fisheries, and to show how easily the herring can be 
frightened, he relates that, in 1756, when the fisheries near Rikfjord 


were very abundant, the herring left when eight men-of-war anchored 
there, and this only because the ship-bells were rung every evening, all 
shooting having been forbidden. He adds that the cause of the her- 
ring's disappearance in 1808 was the constant noise in the salting-houses, 
produced by the manufacture of barrels, and by other work, all the harbor 
being full of ships aud boats waiting for their cargoes of herring, the 
whole coast and all the islands swarming with people of every age and 
sex, who had gathered there for the sake of earning money. In the 
evening there was music and dancing in the fishing- places, and therefore 
Nilsson says it was no wonder that the herring left. 

In Norway the herring does not seem to be so much disturbed by 
noise, but other causes of its disappearance are given. In Flaekkefjord 
people thought the cause of the herring's departure in 1859 was the 
strong glare of the List light-house. In other places, however, there was 
no objection to light-houses; while in Utsire it was even thought that 
the fisheries began to be very abundant just about the time when the 
light-houses were erected, the herring, as they supposed, being attracted 
by the light. The opinion that light-houses have any influence on the 
herring's appearance or disappearance has now been entirely abandoned. 
Formerly many supposed that the bad odor spreading over the sea from 
the burning of sea-weeds caused the herring to leave, and in many 
places laws were demanded forbidding the act. The burners of sea- 
weed, however, were of a different opinion, as well as the owners of 
glass-houses, who used the burnt sea-weed. Professor Rathke was com- 
missioned to examine this matter, and he found that the herring had 
left places where sea-weeds had never been burned, and continued in 
others where sea-weeds were burned constantly. It has also been said 
that the cuttle-fish was a cause of the herring's disappearance, but 
Boeck has never found a single cuttle-fish in the southern fisheries, 
while he saw large numbers of them near Langenses, and many instances 
were related how the cuttlefish loved to pursue the herring; but in no 
instance could it be proved that it had ever driven away even the small- 
est school. 

At one time it was supposed that impurities at the bottom of the sea 
had an influence on the herring fisheries, and that the herring avoided 
those places where many impurities were found, because they were unfa- 
vorable to the development of the spawn. Such impurities were gen- 
erally produced by employing imperfect fishing-implements, which left 
greater or less masses of herring at the bottom, and also by various 
kinds of refuse being thrown into the sea, which might make it unfit 
for spawning. On the coast of Norway the former opinion was quite 
prevalent, it being maintained that in seine-fishing great quantities of 
dead herring were left in the water. Boeck, during his first stay at the 
fishing stations, had his attention directed to this. He also saw that^ 
the nets with narrow meshes, which the fishermen have recently begun 
to use, did not permit larger herring to put the whole head through the 


meshes, but that only the front portion entered, so that the fish died at 
last in endeavoring to push through the meshes, as it never moves back- 
ward. When the net is hauled in, these larger herring fall off and re- 
main at the bottom of the sea. He had several times examined such 
places alter the fishing was over, but had never found any large quan- 
tity of dead herring at the bottom, even when he used the dredge after 
particularly rich fishing-seasons. With the water-telescope he could 
not penetrate to such a depth, but he thinks that the accouut of great 
masses of herring lying there is very much exaggerated. On another 
occasion he saw a large quantity of dead herring lying at the bottom of 
the sea, but he felt convinced that this could not possibly influence the 
fisheries, and experience has shown that he was right. When the cur- 
rent is very violent, nets set in exposed places will be driven together 
and become entangled, so that it is impossible to separate them. He 
thus witnessed at Bjorkevser the sinking of such a mass of entangled 
nets which had been cut off from the buoys, in order to save something. 
It was important for him to examine the place where this was done, and 
he went there about two months after this occurrence. The nets were 
then so much decayed that only small pieces could be recovered, while 
of the herring only bones and gristly parts were found. But the frag- 
ments of the nets and herring were everywhere covered with carrion- 
eating animals, which had gathered in great numbers. Many other ani- 
mals were also found. When, later in the same year, he requested some 
one to procure for him specimens of some of these animals, it was dis- 
covered that there was not a trace left of nets, herring, or animals ; so 
that about four months after the close of the fisheries the bottom was 
quite clean again. 

It is, therefore, evident that dead herring could not make the bottom 
so impure that a year after it should be unfit for the herring to spawn 
in ; and experience has also shown that this is not the case. On the 
other hand, reports from Sweden, Scotland, and other countries, affirm 
that seines may be very detrimental to the fisheries, by leaving a great 
many dead herring at the bottom, and many instances of this are men- 
tioned, such as the well-known fishery near Golten, where, after a great 
many herring had died during one night, the fisheries were never again 
successful. Boeck also discovered, several times after seine-fishing, by 
examining the bottom with the water-telescope, a considerable number 
of dead herring ; but he thinks that the injurious influence is very much » 
exaggerated. Where seine-fishing is carried on in open places the cur- 
rent, sea-animals, &c, will very soon purify the bottom, and only where 
very large masses of fish have died in deep and narrow inlets will some 
remains be found the following year. The cause of the herring not re- 
turning to such places might rather be occasioned by its irregular habits 
than by dead fish. In order to adduce more substantial proof of this 
he caused, according to the government inspector's account, to be marked 
on a map all those places where seine-fishing had been carried on since 
1853, and he found that in some there had been considerable seine-fish- 


ing year after year. It was, therefore, beyond a doubt that seine-fishing 
was by no means so detrimental to the fisheries as was generally sup- 
posed. That the seines brought up all the young herring, was entirely 
unfounded, or, at any rate, but rarely the case ; and the small herring, 
which are frequently caught toward the close of the fisheries, often con- 
tain roe which has not been fully developed. He was informed at the 
great-herring fisheries, and also saw for himself several localities, where 
large masses of dead herring were said to be, at Selsovik, where, at the 
bottom of the deep and narrow Gjeres inlet, between 10,000 and 15,000 
tons were lying. The following year would show whether they had 
decayed or not. 

In Sweden, the disappearance of the herring had been chiefly attrib- 
uted to refuse offish-oil which had been thrown into the sea. This had 
formed a theme of discussion as far back as the middle of the last cen- 
tury, and Professor Nilson had clearly stated the reasons which favor 
this opinion. It will be seen that with regard to Bohuslan, his opinion 
has met with much opposition, while just as many instances are given 
tending to show that the refuse of fish-oil has no such injurious results. 
Boeck has not been able to find that these heaps of refuse are so near 
each other that the herring could find no suitable spawning-places 
between them. Even if the refuse of fish-oil were the cause of the her- 
ring's departure, this could not have been the case in former times, when 
the herring disappeared from Bohuslan, as at that time there were no oil- 
refineries either in Norway or in the Liinfjord, (in the north of Jutland.) 

Boeck's investigations therefore prove that all these causes, which have 
"been mentioned as being instrumental in driving the herring away at 
different times from different places, either amount to nothing, or 
have not held good in all cases. He endeavored himself to find causes 
of the herring's disappearance which would better stand the test of 
science, but for a long time sought in vain, till at last he thinks that, 
through the study of history of the herring -fisheries, he has found reasons 
that will hold good in all cases. During the first year of his stay at the 
fishing-stationsit occurred to him that the herring-fisheries,which formerly 
had commenced much earlier in the season, sometimes even before 
Christmas, had more recently begun later in the year, and he was un- 
able to find any special reasons for this. He also noticed that the herring- 
fisheries were very unproductive near Skudesnaes, where formerly they 
had been very abundant, and that this could not be ascribed to storms 
or to any other ordinary cause. In the following year the fisheries com- 
menced still later, and in carefully examining this whole matter he found 
that at the commencement of the fisheries in 1808 the herring approached 
the coast in February, while during the following years it came earlier 
every year, till recently it again came later and later in the season, until this 
year it came at the end of February. In his work, •' On the herring and her- 
ring-fisheries," he has given the exact date for every year when the herring 
approached the coast. From these dates it is seen that there is a certain 
regularity in the time of the herring's approach, which is but slightly 


modified by storm, and cold. In examining the localities where the 
herring fisheries are carried on, it will be seen that there is likewise a 
certain regularity in them. From 1808 and 1819 Skudesnses was the 
chief seat of the fisheries on the southern coast, while north of Karmo 
and Espevser only few herring were caught, not counting, however, the 
so-called Bergen fisheries from Selbjornfjord to Feio. From the year 1819 
the herring also began to appear in large masses near the Hviding Islands, 
Tananger, and Eoth, and in 1825 it passed south of J seder. From 1824 to 
1838 we notice a constant tendency in the herring to move south, the schools 
in that direction increasingeveryyear, so that rich fisheries began to spring 
up, first near Egersund, then near Sagndal, Rsegefjord, and Hsekkefjord, 
while at the same time the fisheries near Skudesnaes gradually grew 
less abundant. From that time, the herring began again to retreat, and 
soon disappeared completely south of the J seder, and more recently from 
the Hviding Islands and Skudesnses ; while, on the other hand, the 
fisheries became very important near Bovser. During the last year the 
fishing has shifted north of Espevser. If this regularity in the change 
of time and place of the herring movements could only be proved with 
regard to the southern spring-herring fisheries, it would be an impor- 
tant fact, yet not important enough to allow us to deduce laws that 
would be applicable in all cases. Boeck, however, found that such was 
really the case. In examining the information scattered in merchants' 
account-books, and letters which he was permitted to use in Stavanger, 
he found that this same law applied in former as well as in later times, 
and that there was the same regularity in the change of time and place 
of the herring-fisheries. He has treated this subject at length in his 
work, " On the herring and the her ring -fisheries." Even in examining 
the dates regarding the herring-fishery in the year 1575, given by 
Absalon Pedersen Beyer, we find that the fisheries in the beginning of 
that period commenced toward the end of February. This law is there- 
fore found to apply to three different periods. The same phenomena 
were observed not only here, but also in other places. This can be 
shown most conclusively in the Bohuslen fisheries. Boeck found that 
this regularity was very apparent there in the great fisheries which 
closed in 1808. In 1756 the fisheries commenced near Styrso and 
Rifofjord, south of Gottenburg ; from there the herring went constantly 
northward, and in 1773 herring were caught near Stromstad, and, in 
1778, near the Hval Islands. As regards the time of its appearance, 
the herring iu 1750 came in October, and from that time always a little 
earlier, till 1762, when it came on the 16th of August; then again 
gradually later. For example, in 1780, toward the end of October; 
1790, in the middle of November ; 1800, about Christmas, and toward 
the eud of that period (about 1808) in February. The same was also 
the case during the great fishing period, from 1556 to 1590. It will 
thus be seen that the same law has held good for several centuries and 
in -two different places. 
In 1868, when the fisheries were still very abundant, Boeck thought 


that he was fully justified in predicting that a change of the fisheries 
was near at hand ; and although in the beginning he met with violent 
opposition, he saw his predictions verified from year to year. He 
finally mentioned some other facts. It has been a wide-spread opinion 
that the herring-fisheries change alternately between the coast of Nor- 
way and that of Bohusliiu, and that the herring moved between these 
two places, an opinion which was strengthened by the fact that when, 
about 1808, the schools of herring left Bohusliin, they made their 
appearance on the coast of Norway. But Nilsson had already shown 
that the Bohuslen herring is a totally different species from the Nor- 
wegian, and Boeck has proved conclusively that this difference has 
existed from time immemorial. He has furthermore proved that these 
two species also differ in the circumstance that they spawn at differ- 
ent seasons of the year, the spring- herring spawning in the spring, and 
the Bohusliiu herring in the autumn. He has also been able to prove 
by historical researches that, from the very earliest times, both these 
herring-fisheries have been carried on at the same season, and that 
only during the last fishing period there was any difference in time. 
Nor has he found any connection existing between the Norwegian, 
Dutch, and Danish fisheries. Such a connection may possibly have 
existed between the Bohusliin fishery and the Dutch-Scotch fisheries, as 
some data seem to point in that direction. 

If the herring should leave the coast of Norway, it will, in all prob- 
ability, be obliged to seek the other channel, (" Eende,") which Boeck 
has marked on his map. At a distance of from ten to fifteen miles from 
the coast of Norway, large banks are found, that have their roots in the 
North Sea, where the depth of water varies only between 70 and 50 
fathoms, a depth which is very favorable to the development of the 
spawn. Boeck thinks that if the herring disappears from the southern 
coast of Norway, the fishermen and merchants will suffer in the begin- 
ning, but not as much as in former times. The cod-fisheries which 
have recently commenced, and which he always found to come after a 
period of herring fishing, would probably replace the herring-fisheries, 
after people had become accustomed to them, and had supplied them- 
selves with the necessary implements. Besides, since the intercourse 
by steamers has become so common, and is even increasing, fishing- 
places that were formerly considered too remote will be used just as 
well as those which are near, and herring-fishing will assuredly be 
carried on at all times on the long coast-liue of Norway. The periods 
during which the herring has disappeared have been neither as long 
nor as exclusive as is generally supposed ; for although we know that 
the herring left Skudesuoes in 1784, it was caught near Bergen in 1787, 
and returned there in 1806, while it did not return to Skudesuaes till 
1808. Nor has it remained entirely away during the intervening period, 
since in 1803 there might have been considerable fishing, if people had 
been prepared for it, for during that year the herring approached the 
shore in vast numbers. 


By Axel Vilhelm Ljungman. 

To the committee appointed to investigate the her ring -fisheries on the west 

coast of Sweden : 

Having been informed, on the 3d June, last year, by the secretary of 
the Royal Academy of Sciences, that, by a letter of His Majesty the 
King, dated March the 28th, I bad, at the suggestion of the Royal 
Academy, been intrusted with the continued prosecution of the investi- 
gations regarding the herring and the herring-fisheries on the west coast 
of Sweden, I went to Stockholm in accordance with the wish of the 
committee, as expressed by their letter of the 13th of June, and remained 
there till the end of the month to gather all the necessary information 
and make every necessary preparation. 

In the course of the summer, I visited the most important fishing* 
stations on the coast of Bohus-lan to secure information and to make 
the necessary arrangements for investigating the fisheries which com- 
mence in the autumn. I left for Stockholm on the 23d of September 
to consult with the members of the committee, and to make myself 
acquainted with the literature of the subject in the library of the Royal 
Academy of Sciences. In consequence of sickness, I was compelled to 
remain in Stockholm till near the end of October, so that I was pre- 
vented from making any observations at the beginning of the fisheries. 
During the months of November and December, I visited all the more 
important fishing-stations on the central and northern coast, 2 where the 
fishing for small herring was carried on. 

As soon as I received information, about the beginning of the year, 
that herring were coming in in great quantities, I went immediately to 

1 Preliminar Berattelse for 1873-74 ofver de betraffande sillen och sillfisket vid Sveriges 
vestkust anstallda undersokningarna. Af Axel Villi. Ljungman. (Tryckt sasom hands- 
krift.) Upsala, Ed. Berling, 1874. [8vo,2 p. 1.74, pp. 1 1.] Translated from the Swedish 
by H. Jacobson. Original " printed as manuscript" by the author, [i e., not for gen- 
eral circulation,] Upsala, 1874. 

2 By the southern coast, I understand the coast from Salofjord toTistlarne, (Reports on 
Herring-Fisheries, p. 86 fr. 8 ;) by the central coast, the coast from Salofjord to Soteskiir, 
(counted to the northern coast by the old fishermen ; see Act Concerning Blubber-Refin- 
eries, pp. 120, 134;) and by the northern coast, the coast from Soteskar to the boundary 
of Norway. A somewhat different division of the coast has been made by Dubb, (Re- 
ports of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, p. 34.) 


Gottenburg, where I had an excellent opportunity for observing the her. 
ring-fishermen assembled together from all the neighboring coast. On 
the 24th of January, I went to Stockholm to consult with the committee, 
and to inform myself of the financial arrangements made for the obser- 
vations. From the end of February till the beginning of June, I visited 
various localities on the coast of Bolms-lan, to make observations and 
gather whatever information I could. 

I went to Stockholm again on the 7th of June, at the express desire of 
the committee, to report on the progress and result of my observations. 

Although I had some knowledge of the coast of Bohusliin and its 
fisheries, much time was, nevertheless, lost by my being unacquainted 
with many peculiar circumstances of importance for carrying on obser- 
vations in the easiest and quickest manner. This knowledge can be 
acquired only by several years' intercourse with the fishermen. All the 
investigations, which were chiefly of a practical character, were on that 
very account entirely new to me, and, therefore, necessarily retarded my 
X>rogress. My investigations were, moreover, impeded by the unusually 
stormy weather during the autumn and winter, by sickness, aud by want; 
of funds and apparatus. 1 Much time has also been consumed in col- 
lecting all that has been said on the subject in the very rich herring- 
literature, which, as far as possible, I endeavored to obtain. 

I need scarcely say that the distrust and opposition with which the 
investigations were met, not only by nearly the whole population en- 
gaged in fishing, but even by those from whom assistance might reason- 
ably have been expected, exercised a depressing influence, and will 
continue to do so in the future, though not, perhaps, to so great an 
extent. Tbe rigid observance of section 22 of the fishing-law, and the 
milder ordinance of July 19, 1872, regarding the use of nets with narrow 
meshes, 2 increased the excited feelings of the coast-population, especially 
in the beginning of the year, when the herring came in in great numbers. 

The almost uninterrupted journeys, which were especially troublesome 
in winter, on account of the apparatus which had to be carried along, 
and the brief stay made in each place, did not permit any thorough 
anatomical or microscopical observations, since these require a quieter 
sojourn in a suitable place, where all the necessary apparatus may easily 
be brought. As I did not' consider it desirable and of practical use 
for the advancement of science to report on the special investigations 
which have been begun, but have not yet led to any defiuite result, the 
cause of the incompleteness of this first report will easily be understood ; 
while this incompleteness was still further enhanced by the fact that the 
investigations were carried on uninterruptedly till the end of the year, 
thus leaving but little time for pntting my notes into suitable shape. 

In conclusion, I must draw attention to the fact that, as the investi- 
gations continue and more information is collected, much in this report 

1 See Chapter VIII. 

2 New Reports on the Herring- Fisheries, p. 3, 58, 59. 


will probably have to be modified in future ones. I also hope that I 
shall then be able to make my report much more complete by means of 
observations made on the coast of Norway, in the Kattegat, and in the 
southern portion of the Baltic. 


Even in olden times different races of herring were recognized, or at 
least names were given to them designating different kinds, as the 
idea of a variety or race was scarcely known to the traders and 
fishermen, who by those different names only wished to distinguish one 
article of trade from some other which was obtained at another place 
or time, or was considered to have a different value. 

Among our Scandinavian naturalists, Linne was the first who de- 
scribed a kind of herring called in Swedish "Stromming," [a sort of 
small-herring,] as a separate species, under the name of Clupea harengus 
p membras. 1 

From Dr. P. DuWs observations on the herring -fishery of Bohus-Lan, 2 
we learn that the Bohus-Lan fishermen, during the last great fishery, 
distinguished the so-called "old" herring, (" gamla" sill,) as it is called 
at present, as a " real sea-herring" ("ligtig hafssill") from the spring- 
herring, which is peculiar to the coast, and belongs to it exclusively. 
This last-mentioned herring was said to have a smaller head, to be 
thicker and shorter, and to resemble the Kattegat herring. To judge 
from an expression of 0. N. Loberg's, 3 the Norwegian herring-fishers 
likewise make a distinction between the u sea-herring" (" Havsild") and 
the " fiord-herring/' (" Fjordsteing.") 

Professor Nilsson, in the year 1832, distinguished, besides the ll Strom- 
ming," a large number of different races of herring from the southern and 
western coasts of Sweden and Norway, all of which, however, he 
grouped under two heads, viz: sea-herring (Hafssill) and coast-herring, 
(Skargardssill.) 4 This division, which was somewhat modified by him 

1 Fauna Svecica. Ed. alt., p. 128. 

»Kgl. Vet. Akad. Handl. f. 1817, p. 35, 44. 

8 Norges Fiskerier. Kristiania, 1864, p. 89, 90. 

4 Prodrornus ichthyologiae scandinavicae, p. 23, 24. As this work is very scarce, 
and as the quotation is of special importance, it is given in full : 

Clupea harengus Auctorum. Svecis Sill. 

Sub hoc nomine latent plures species, vel, si mavis, varietates locales constantes, 
qnsB in duas formas aptius abeunt : 

1-mo Forma oceanica (sea-herring) : capite, oculis et rictu minoribus ; orbita g^ — ^ 
longit. corp. ; ventralibus sub anteriori £ pinnae dorsalis ; distantia a rostro ad pmnas 
pectorales intervallum aequante ventralium et ani, seu initii pinnae analis : 

1. oeresundica, Nostratibus Eabosill ( boundary-herring). 

2. schelderensis, Nostratibus Kullasill. 

3. majalis, Nostratibus Griissill (grass-herring). 

4. bahusica, Nostratibus Aflingssill I. Storsill (great-herring). 

5. hiemalis, Nostratibus Norsk vintersill (Norwegian winter-herring). 

6. autumnalis, Nostratibus, Norsk hostsill (Norwegian fall-herring). 


subsequently, 1 seems to have been adopted by all the Swedish ichthy- 
ologists, but has been questioned by Professor Kroyer, who says, in his 
great work on the fish of Denmark, that he is not convinced of the 
correctness of Professor Nilsson's distinction of different species of 
herring from the southern Baltic, the Kattegat, and Norway. 2 

From the western portion of the North Sea, Yarrell has described two 
analogous forms of herring as different species: Clupea leackii and 
Clupea alba,* the latter of which, however, is only a herring in an earlier 
stage of its development. 4 

In the year 1833, in testimony before a committee of inquiry ordered 
by His Majesty, the Bohus-lan fishermen distinguished the following 
kinds of herring: 1. The so-called old (" gamla") herring, (which for- 
merly came in every year from the North Sea; 2, the half-grown 
" lottsil," (so called from the Swedish word " lott," a kind of net,) found 
both toward the end of the last fishing-period and later, and which neither 
propagated nor was to be seen in its full-grown state near the coast ; 
and, 3, the "spring-herring," or " grass-herring," belonging to the coast, 
and caught during the old fisheries as well as since. The distinctive 
marks assigned by the fishermen were very nearly the same as those 
-which are generally employed by Nilsson and other professional ichthy- 
ologists in distinguishing the various species of herrings, viz, the size 
of the head, height of body, length of dorsal and ventral fins, size of 
scales, and time of spawning. The opinion of the fishermen was at- 
tacked by Professor Mlsson as being unreasonable, and all the Swedish 
naturalists adopted his views. 5 

Obs. Pulli omnium harum varietatum sub nomine Smasill — small-herring — (et adhuc 
minores Ansjovis— anchovies — ) venditantur. Nomen vero Smasill etiam imponitur 
varietatibus minoribus formse insequentis. 

2: do Forma tceniensis (coast-herring), capite, oculis et rictu majoribus; orbita ^ — J, 
longit. corp.; ventralibus fere sub medio pinnae dorsalis; distantia a rostro ad pinnas 
pectorales multo longiore quam a ventralibus ad anum, et sequante distantiam a 
ventralibus ad mediam analem : 

1. Clupea Cirabrica. Sv. Kivik-Sill vel Cimbrishamns-Sill. In parte meridionali 
maris balthici. 

2. Clupea membms. Sv. Stromming. In parte superiori maris balthici. 

1 Skandinavisk Fauna. IV, p. 492-498. 

2 Danmarks Fiske. HI, p. 1S.5-156. 
a British Fishes, 3 ed., I, pp. Ill, 121. 

4 The Clupea alba (subsequently called by Valenciennes Rogenia alba) was estab- 
lished by Yarrell for the celebrated " Whitebait " of English gourmands, but has been 
satisfactorily demonstrated to be nothing more than the young of the herring. — S. F. B. 

6 It does not, however, seem at all unreasonable to suppose that during the old 
Bohus-Lan fisheries the great herring came from the North Sea, and that ils descend- 
ants, the young herring, visited the coast of Norway, (see Boeck, Om Silden, p. 130 j 
Trangrumsacten, p. 173,) presuming that the small herring (lotsill) coming to the coast 
of Bohus-Lan from the sea, was descended, e. g., from the Kattegat herring, spawning 
in autumn, or from the Limfiord herring, spawning in spring. G. 0. Sars'a investiga- 
tions regarding the young or so-called summer-herring caught in Norway, are very 
instructive in this respect, as they point to very similar results. 


Axel Boedc, who, in May, 1870, visited the coast of Bohus-Lan for the 
purpose of investigating the herring-fishery on that coast, maintains 
that the herring which spawns there is " certainly only a coast herring," 1 
which, moreover, is distinguished from the "old herring" by spawning 
in spring, the latter spawning in autumn, and that it must be supposed 
to have come from the North Sea, and possibly had some connection 
with the Scotch-Dutch herring. 2 

G. von Yhlerij who, during five years' fishing, had abundant opportu- 
nity for making observations on the matter, has, in his memorial of No- 
vember 16, 1870,3 addressed to the royal governors of Goteborgs-lau and 
Bohus-lau, given the result of his own experience in the following two 
assertions, viz : 1. That " that in none of those years had there been in 
the schools of herring coming in from the sea any mature herring capa- 
ble of propagating; that therefore they could not be herring spawning 
in autumn like the so-called 'old herring f and that 'the great mass of 
herrings have not remained till the beginning of the spring-spawning 
season f 2. " That the herring of one year differ in shape and size from 
those of another," which observation is said to be "indisputable" and 
" valuable." Yon Yhlen thinks that he is able to verify by his observa- 
tions the testimony of the fishermen made before the committee in 1833, 
that the so-called sea-herring does not spawn on the coast of Bohus-Lan 
and is not of the same breed as either the coast-herring or the "old" 
herring, as well as the assertions made by himself that the sea-herring 
are not of the same breed each year, and do not come from the same 
place, and that "they possibly may be young herring from various parts 
of the Kattegat aud Skagerack, which are drifted along by marine cur- 
rents till those able to spawn go to their various spawning-places." 4 In 
his report of 1870 on the salt-water fish of Bohus-lan, he says, further- 
more, that as " herring have nowhere been found to spawn on the outer 
coast," it would appear from this circumstance " that those herring 
which in autumn showed themselves in such enormous numbers on the 
outer coast, do not come from the small schools which are annually 
found spawning in the fiords." 5 In his report for the preceding year he 
supposes that the large number of sea-herring caught during that year 
(90,800 bushels) came from young herring which migrated from the 
fiords in September, 1867. 5 

The fishermen of Bohus Ian, as was shown in the report on theherring- 
fisheries, published in 1843, have distinguished several races of herring 
by different names, most of which, however, only indicated differences 

1 Oin Silden og Sildefiskerierne. Christiania 1871, p. 126. 

2 Tidskrift for Fiskeri. V, p. 21-54. — Goteborgs och Bohus-lans Hushallnings-Salls- 
kaps Qvartalsskrift. October, 1870, p. 123-160.— Om Silden og Sildefiskerierue, p. 121, 
122, 126. 

3 Nya Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 11-17. 

4 Nya Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 12. 

6 Goteborgs och Bohus-lans Hushallnings-Siillskaps Qvartalsskrift, July, 1870, p. 16. 


of age, or size, or a greater development of the sexual organs in one and 
the same kind, or such as are found at the different seasons when the 
herring are caught, and which the fishermen themselves by no means 
always understand. The more experienced among them, however, gen- 
erally make a distinction between — 1, the spring or grass herring; 2, the 
sea-herring, (lottsill ;) and, 3, the wandering-herring, (straksill,) which last 
is by some thought to be only a full-grown sea-herring. Concerning the 
three races thus recognized, and which have not been admitted from 
interested views, I shall give whatever I have been able to gather from 
the literature on the subject as well as from conversations with the most 
experienced and reliable fishermen, reserving for a future report all the 
facts I could gather from personal observation. I shall make it a specia 
object to enter into a fuller examination than has been hitherto done of 
the various assertions made before the committee of inquiry in 1833, as 
these are viewed from such different stand-points, and are urged by the 
partisans of conflicting opinions. 

THE SPRING-HERRING ( u Vdrsill"). 

(Clupea majalis, Nilss.) 

This coast-herring, which is found in the Skagerack, along the coast 
from Holland Point to Cape Lindesnces, is distinguished by its com- 
paratively small head and plump shape, and by its spawning on the 
coast in March, April, and May. Whether the Limfiord-herring, which 
likewise spawns in spring, belongs to the same race, I have not been 
able to ascertain. 1 The spring-herring is chiefly found near the mouths 
of the large rivers flowing into the Skagerack, where it is also caught 
with stationary nets. This race, which is distinguished from the larger 
one that has sometimes visited Bohus-Lan in enormous numbers and has 
caused the famous "great" fisheries, is either entirely overlooked or 
considered incorrectly as the former "old" herring's insignificant de- 
scendant. It is chiefly caught in spring, during the spawning-sea- 
son, but likewise, though in smaller numbers, at the end of summer 
and in the autumn and winter, while its young are caught at all sea- 
sons of the year, though rarely in any great number. 

The spring-herring was during the old fishery, and even some time 
afterward, known by the collective name of " lottsill," 2 but began to 
be gradually distinguished from it as a separate race. 3 The most com- 
mon and oldest name for this race is spring-herring, (Varsill. 4 ) Accord- 
ing to Nilsson 5 and Ukstrom 6 it is said, after having finished spawning, 

i See Hancll. ror. Sillf. , p. 107 fr. 24. 

* Hancll. ror. Sillf., p. 88 fr. 23, p. 89 fr. 30, p. 100 fr. 13, 14, p. 102 fr. 25, p. 119 fr. 9, 
p. 127 fr. 19. 

s See Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 107 fr. 24. 

* Dubb, Kgl. Vet. Akad. Handl. f. 1817, p. 34. Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 90 fr. 31. 
6 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 63 fr. 136. 

6 Praktisk afhandling, p. 10. 


to lose some of its scales, and appear of a more greenish-color, and be- 
come inferior in quality, at which time fi is called grass-herring, (Gras- 
sill.) This name was generally understood by the fishermen at the in- 
quest of 1833 j 1 this is still the case, as they always understand thereby 
a herring which frequents and is caught on grassy bottoms, although at 
present this name is perhaps more generally used in another sense. On 
the northern coast of Sweden, as well as in the neighboring portions of 
Norway, the young of more than one year of the coast-herring are 
called by this name. By May-herring we understand smaller, but often 
very fat specimens of the spring-herring, which toward the end of 
spring are caught iu the same places where formerly the great spring- 
herring was caught. It is often filled with insects, and therefore be- 
comes easily damaged, which circumstance no doubt accounts for Nils- 
son's report as to its poor quality. 2 It is called summer -herring when 
caught toward the end of summer. 3 By autumn-herring 4, they under- 
stand on the northern coast the same herring, if caught during the be- 
ginning of autumn. Some see in this herring a different race from the 
spring-herring, although they can mention no other difference than that 
the autumn-herring is somewhat larger and probably spawns somewhat 
earlier (in February.) Autumn-herring seems to be only a more recent 
name, which has replaced that of " summer herring." By "ganesill" 5 
the same fish as the summer or autumn herring is understood. The 
name "Isterslll " 6 — lard-herring — is synonymous with "summer-herring," 
although other herring are sometimes called by that name. u Knub- 
sill 79 — plump-herring — is a name given to the coast-herring, on account 
of the short and plump form of its body. "FetsilV 1 — fat-herring — the 
coast-herring is called when it has fully-developed sexual organs, 7 a 
reminiscence of the old fisheries, when the full-grown herring was fat- 
test and most valuable, on which account it also, toward the end of the 
fishing period, got the name ii Vdljesill v — select herring. 8 "Ajlingssill" 9 
means the same as " fat-herring." "Holjesill," 10 or, as the Norwegians 
call it, "Fiordstoing" 11 — fiord-herring — is another name given to the 
coast-herring, because it sometimes frequents the deep fiords. By the 

1 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 119 fr. 9, 10, 16, p. 126 fr. 16, 17, 18, 22, 23. 

2 Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 131, 136. 

3 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 107 fr. 25, p. 127 fr. 19. Ekstrom, Ofvers. af Kgl. Vet. 
Akad:s Forhandl. f. 1846, p. 20. 

4 It seems that formerly the sea-herring or so-called "old-herring" was sold under 
this name. See I)ubb, Kgl. Vet. Akadrs Handl. f. 1817, pp. 35, 44. 

6 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 89 fr. 30, p. 119 fr. 9, pp. 45, 136. 
6 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 127 fr. 19, pp. 131, 136. 

7 Ekstrom, Praktisk af handling, p. 11. 

8 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 98 fr. 5, p. 112 fr. 17. There seems, therefore, not to have been 
any fishing of " May-herrings "—so-called "inaatjes " — during the old fishery, and the 
"word "fat-herring" has therefore in Bohus-Lan got quite a different meaning than in 
Norway and other countries. Ekstrom, Praktisk af handling, pp. 10, 11. 

9 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 16, 45, 46, 62, 70, 134. 

10 ¥hlen, G. von, Goteb. o. Boh. lans Hush. Sallsk. Qvartalsskr., July, 1867, p. 51 ; 1873, 
p. 205. 

u L6berg, Norges Fiskerier, p. 89. 
9 F 


name "Tjogsill," or score-herring, (in Norway "Snesesild,") all herrings 
of such a size as can be sold by the score are understood. 1 

The young of the coast-herring are called u Sill'6gon," 2 (herring eyes,) 
"Silbndr," or "Sillmyr," 3 (tender-herring,) and "Sillstagg,"** 5 — in the 
neighboring portion of Norway "Sildemaiir," or "SildegnuJ 76 — till they 
are one year old, when they are called "Grcissill," (grass-herring,) 
"Smdsill" (small-herring,) 7 and "Smdlodda" 8 (small "lodda,") till at the 
age of two years they reach a length of five to six inches, when they 
begin to be caught in the large nets, and are known by the general 
name of "Lottsillf 9 or "Half sill," (half-herring.) 10 The coast-herring is 
said to be fatter and plumper than the sea-herring, from which, accord- 
ing to some, it is known by the same characteristics which distinguish 
the mature spring-herring from the sea-herring of the same size. 

THE SEA-HERRING ( u liafslottsilV). 

The kind of herring called u sea-herring/ 1 which during winter comes 
in great numbers to the coast of Bohus-lan — more regularly, however, 
on the southern coast and the southern portion of the central coast — is 
distinguished by its comparatively large head, its more elongated shape, 
and the great size ; all of which characteristics are, however, only dis- 
tinctly discernible in the larger specimens, (called " storlodda? i. e., 
" great lodda?) which are found in small numbers among the medium- 
sized, two-year-old herring, in respect to whose relation to the other 
herring, however, opinions are divided. 11 

It is by some supposed to spawn at the beginning of autumn, (like 
the " old" herring of former times,) because the larger specimens which 
have been caught were usually empty, and would, consequently, when 
it comes to the coast of Bohus-lan, be nearly half a year older than the 
coast-herring. At the meetings held by the committee of inquiry in 
1833, the fishermen of the Bohus-lan coast unanimously declared that 
the " sea-herring " ( u lottsill v ) " goes away from the coast" before it 
gets mature ; 12 and some of them were, therefore, of opinion that it 

l Hasch, R. $• Bcrg,B. M. Betaenkning og Indstilling afgiven af den til Fiskeriernes 
Unders^gelse i Christiania — og Langesundsfjorden ved Kongel. Resol. af 28 de Mai 
1852, nedsatte Commission, p. 32. 

zjSkstrom, Praktisk afhandling, p. 9. 

*Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 45, 70. 

Ekslrbm, Praktisk afhandling, p. 10. 

*Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 63, 70, 134. 

Ekstrom, Praktisk afhandling, p. 10. 

6 These and some of the following names are merely differences of dialect, and there 
fore almost untranslatable. — Translator's note. 

6 Rasch Sf Berg, Betaenkning og Indstilling, p. 32. 

milsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 46. 

»Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 137. 

*MUson, Handl. r^Jr., Sillf. pp. 70, 63, 66. 

t°Mls8on, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 46. 

11 See what is said regarding the "Strdksill" — the "wandering-herring." 

» Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 102 fr. 24, p. 112 fr. 15, p. 117 fr. 14, p. 129 fr. 33. NiUson, 
Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 47. 


spawned " out in the sea," whither it went on leaving the coast, 1 while 
others maintained that it was a small kind of herring which never got 
any larger 2 and never propagated its race, bnt was a " direct produc- 
tion of the water;" 3 views which are still held by some people. 4 Its 
spawniug-places, the parts of the sea whence it comes and whither it 
goes, are thus not knowu ; but if it should really come from another 
race of herring than that belongiug to the Skagerack, it could not come 
from any other place but the North Sea, the Lim fjord, or the Kattegat. 
The fact discovered by G . 0. Sars that the young herring descended 
from the Western Norwegian winter-herring stays generally much far- 
ther toward the north, near the northwestern coast of Norway, 5 fur- 
nishes an example of a young herring or sea-herring, like that found on 
the coast of Bohus-Lan, paying regular visits to a coast where it is not 
born and where it does not spawn. 

The Swedish word " lottsill" is supposed to be derived from the old 
fisheries, and originally meant a smaller kind of herring, or one of uneven 
size, not suitable for an article of trade, 6 in contradistinction to the more 
even-sized herring, which was sold to the salting-establishments or her- 
ring traders. " Lottsill " was consequently a collective name, and meant 
not only half-grown herring, but also larger herring of another kind 
than the good herring, 7 and therefore, following the example of others, 
I have used the term to distinguish it from the other races of herring, 
although it ought in course of time to be exchanged for a better one, 
since it has not become popular, and is perhaps even based on false 
premises. Nowadays, since the " old w herring has been forgotten, the 
term " lottsill n is often used by the fishermen to distinguish a kind of 
herring different from the spring herring. 8 It is even called halfsill, 
(half-herring,) 9 and the few large ones found among them " storlodda," 
(great lott-herring.) 10 


A large, but thin species of herring, which is found in small numbers 
late in autumn and in winter, and which is distinguished from the 

1 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. Ill fr. 10. 

* Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 91 fr. 38, p. 92, p. 95, p. 106 fr. 21, p. 107 fr. 26, p. 112 fr. 15. 

3 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 108 fr. 33.— Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 37.— Wright, W. von, 
Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 168. 

4 Quite a different opinion, viz, that the "lottsill" was descended from our coast- 
herring, seems to have been quite common on the coast of Bohus-Lan. See Lundbeck, 
0., Anteckningar rorande Bohusliinska Fiskerierna, i synnerhet Silltisket. Gotheb. 
1822, p. 27. — Rosen, A. von, Anforande i Commerce Collegii underd. Forslag till nyt, 
Reglemente lor Fiskerierne of d. 17 Aug., 1840. — Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 95, 

6 Indberetniug for 1873, p. 54. 

6 Nilsson, Haudl. ror. Sillf., p. 63. 

7 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 88 fr. 19, 23, p. 100 fr. 12, p. 119 fr. 9, p. 127 fr. 19, &c. Tho 
" LoUsill " is still called " lottsill " when it becomes larger than about seven inches, as is 
erroneously thought. Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 135. Nya Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 65. 

8 See Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 107 fr. 24. 

9 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 46. 

10 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 137. 


spring-herring by the same marks as the sea-herring, and which is said 
to resemble in its appearance the Norwegian herring. On the coast 
of Bonus Lan it is never found with fully-developed sexual organs, but 
is by some considered to be full-grown sea-herring. UJcstrom thought 
that they were barren spring-herring ; * and this opinion was shared 
by von Yhlen. 2 Some years ago this kind of herring came to the 
northern coast in much larger numbers than usual, 3 and according to some 
reports they are said to have staid till the end of May, when they got 
fat ; but this last-mentioned kind, caught in May, 4 is said by others to have 
been mostly autumn-herring, a race which is supposed to be distinct from 
the wandering herring. The wandering-herring is not liked by the fisher- 
men, because it is almost valueless, and is believed, if appearing in larger 
numbers, to chase away the other herring and eat up the young ones, 5 
so that its arrival often indicates the close of the herring-fisheries. On 
the Stromstad coast one occasionally hears the opinion expressed that 
the wandering-herring is of the same kind as the 4i old * herring, or at 
least resembles it. The wandering-herring is not spoken of in the re- 
ports of the "old" fisheries, so that in this respect they seem to be dif- 
ferent from the fisheries on the west coast of Norway, which generally 
commenced with the fishing of wandering-herring. 

The name Strdksill (wandering-herring) seems to have been given on 
account of its wandering about the coast in comparative loneliness, 
without occurring in regular schools and producing any fisheries. On 
the northernmost coast it is called Bensill, (bone-herring,) because it is 
thought to have more numerous and larger bones than any other her- 
ring. 6 In the neighboring portion of Norway it used formerly to be 
called JemsvensJc sill (Iron Swedish herring. 7 ) Its proper Norwegian 
name, however, is Straalsild y (ray-herring,) StraaJcsild, (wandering- 
herring,) Solhovedsild, (sun-head herring,) 8 as well as Blodsild (blood- 
herring. 9 ) This last-mentioned name seems to indicate that even in 
Norway the fishermen consider the wandering-herring to have more 
blood than any other herring. 

1 Ofvers. af Kgl. Vet. Akad : s Forhandl. f. 1844, p. 26.— Praktisk af handling, p. 8.— 
Later, however, he came to the conviction that the wandering-herring was identical 
with the Norwegian herring. — Ofvers. af Kgl. Vet. Akad : s Forhandl. f. 1846, p. 20. 

2 Goteborgs och Bohuslans Hushallings Sallskaps Quartalsskrift, July, 1872, p. 50; 
1873, p. 205. 

3 Sars, G. 0., Indberetning. Morgenbladet f. 1871, n:o. 

4 Handl. ror Sillf., p. 90 fr.31. 

*Handl. ror Sillf., p. 88 fr. 21.— Ekstrom, Ofvers. af Kgl. Vet. Akad:s Forhandl, f. 
1846, p. 20. 

e Boeck, A., Tidskrift for Fiskeri, VII, p. 26. 

7 Yhlen, G. von, Goteborgs och Bohuslans Hushallnings Sallskaps Qvartalsskrift, 

1873, p. 205. 

8 Ltyberg, Norges Fiskerier, pp. 23, 24. — Boeck, Om Silden, pp. 23, 24, 48. 

9 Sars, G. O., Indberetning til Departernentet for det Indre om de af ham i Aarene, 
1864-1873, anstillede, praktisk videnskablige Unders^gelser. Christiania, 1869 and 

1874. Indberetning for 1873, p. 59. 



Herring spawning in antuinn are said to have been caught sometimes 
near Tjornj where, some years ago, small quantities of this same fish 
were caught at the end of summer or in the beginning of autumn. G. 
'con Yhlen thinks that this herring is related to the Dutch herring. 1 


{Clupea bahusica, Nilss.) 

It is frequently maintained, though not as often now as formerly, 
both by old men who remember the old fisheries, and by young per- 
sons, that herring of the same kind as the "old" herring, or at least 
resembling it very much, are caught amoug the other herring, or are 
observed in the open sea. I therefore feel it my duty to contribute my 
share toward ascertaining the truth of this assertion, and to increase 
our knowledge of this remarkable kind of herring by gathering all the 
information on the subject scattered in books and reports, giving a re- 
view of the different opinions regarding its appearance and disappear- 
ance on the coast of Bohus-lan. 

The " old v herring ("gainla" sill) was, during the period it visited 
the coast of Bohus-lan, generally called "samsillf 72 in order to distin- 
guish it from a smaller and less valuable kind. It was also called "stor- 
sill," (great-herriug,) 3 by which name people, as they do in Norway at 
the present day, intended to distinguish a kind of herring excelling the 
others in size, 4 and "vadsill,"* (net-herring,) signifying a herring too 
large to stick in the meshes of a net, as well as " hostsill," (autumn-her- 
ring.) 6 . t 

As there are no specimens of the "old" herring in any of our muse- 
ums, it was necessary, in order to get some idea of its nature, to collate 
accurately the different accounts regarding it obtained from the fishing 
period when it was caught, or from the time near its close, when every- 
thing was still fresh in the memory of men. 

If we examine the answers which were given to the committee of 1833 
by the fishermen, we find that they unanimously declared that 7 the her- 
ring which spawned in spring and which was peculiar to the coast was 

1 Goteborgs och Bohuslans Husbiillnings Siillskaps Qvartalsskrift, July, 1867, p. 51. — 
Here, as well as in A. BoecJvS report, (Goteb. och Boh. lans Hush. Siillsk. Qvartalskr. 
Oktob., 1870, p. 28 ; Tidskrift for Fiskeri, V, p. 131,) and his more extensive work, " Om 
Silden og Sildefiskerierne," (p. 122,) the word Holliindska" (Dutch) should be substi- 
tuted instead of " Ralliindska." 

2 Wright, W. von, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 171. — Ekstrom, Praktisk afhandliug, p. 11. 
*mi88<m, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 45, 46, 62,70, 13* 

4 Handl. ror. Sillf. p. 88 fr. 23, p. 90 fr. 33. 

6 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 16, 62. 

«Dubb, K. Vet. Akadrs Handl. f. 1817, p. 35. 

'Only two salters, of whom one, however, could only remember the great fishery 
from his childhood, were of a different opinion. Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 112 fr. 16, p. 127 
fr. 17. 


certainly different from the "old" herring, and stated that it differed 
from it partly by variation in form, 1 and partly by staying near the coast 
" all the year round," (while the " old" herring came near the coast only 
for a short time,) 2 and by having (in the beginning of the year and in 
spring) roe and milt, 3 (which during that period was not generally the 
case with the " old n herring,) 4 by being not as large when full grown, 5 
by a smaller head and higher body, 6 by the relative position of the 
iins, 7 by a different flavor, 8 and finally by resembling the Kattegat- 
herring. 9 As a characteristic distinction, it was mentioned that the 
herring coming in from the sea had a larger head, and was thinner and 
smaller, than the " old * herring, and had a different flavor : 10 which as- 
sertions, however, have been utterly and indisputably refuted by Professor 
Nilsson. 11 Even from that kind of herring which is now generally called 
lottsill, (wandering-herring,) and which in size occasionally exceeds the 
"old" herring, 13 it is said to differ somewhat, as the lottsill was said*o 
resemble more closely the Norwegian grabensill, (gray-bone herring,) or 
have smaller scales and proportions slenderer. 13 The " old" herring was 
furthermore of a different race from the Norwegian grabensill, (gray-bone 
herring,) 14 and the Southern Kattegat and Limfjord-herring. 16 If we 
now consider everything that is alleged in the reports on the herring- 
fisheries regarding this matter, we find that the " old " herring, accord- 
ing to the account of the fishermen, differed from the " skargardsill," 
(coast-herring,) from the " straksill," (wandering-herring,) and — though 
not quite so much — from the " hafslottsill," (sea-herring,) and, finally, also 
from the herring caught on the western coast of Norway, in the Katte- 
gat, and in the Limfjord, but that it nevertheless bore some resemblance 
to the " straksill," 16 and even to the older and larger "varsill," (spring- 

1 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 88 fr. 23, p. 89 fr. 30, p. 90 fr. 31, pp. 95, 102, fr. 25. Also see 
LundbecJc, O., Antekningar, p. 27. — Edenhielm, G. Utlatande till Commerce Collegium at 
d. 2 Mars 1840. 

2 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 95. 

3 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 90 fr. 31, p. 120 fr. 16, p. 127 fr. 17. 

4 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 89 fr. 25, p. 98 fr. 5, p. 120 fr. 12, p. 125 fr. 6. 

6 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 120 fr. 13, p. 127 fr. 17 and 23.-See also Dubb, K. Vet. Akad:s 
Handl. f. 1817, pp. 35, 44. — Lundbeck, Antekningar, p. 27. 

6 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 100 fr. 14 and 15, p. 107 fr. 24, p. 120 fr. 10, p. 127 fr. 23. 
Dubb, K. Vet. Akad:s. Haudl. f. 1817, p. 44. — Lundbeck, Antekningar, p. 27. 

7 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 112 fr. 16. 

s Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 120 fr. 10, p. 127 fr. 17 —Lundbeck, Antekningar, p. 27. 

8 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 100 fr. 15, p. 107 fr.24.— See also Dubb, K. Vet. Akad:s. Handl. 
f. 1817, pp. 35, 44. 

10 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 88 fr. 23, pp. 87-88 fr. 19, pp. 92, 108 fr. 32, p. 119 fr. 6, p. 126 
fr. 10. 

» Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 133-135. 

12 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 90 fr. 33. 

"Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 88 fr. 23, p. 90 fr. 33, p. 119 fr. 7. 

» Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 90 fr. 34, pp. 95, 107 fr. 25, p. 121 fr. 20.— See also p. 121 fr. 
21 and p. 100 fr. 16. 

lfi Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 100 fr. 15, p. 121 fr. 20. 

i6 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 119 fr. 7, p. 128,fr. 25 and 26. 


herring,) as "its head was smaller, the rest of the body fatter, and the 
fish, when salted, of a better flavor." 1 

Regarding tbe spawning- season of the "old" herring, we know (see 
"Handlingarnetill B. St. Fiskeri- Deputation dr. 1764 ") 2 that the herring 
" was full of roe in the beginning of the fishing-season, but empty iii- 
November," and that "another herring, full of roe and milt, came late in 
autumn and spawned later," which chiefly took place then in September 
and October, though herring were also caught which spawned later in. 
autumn; a circumstance which reminds one of the spring-herring. 3 la 
the " Trangrumsact" it is said, as is well known, " on the first arrival of 
the herring, especially when it comes early to the coast, it is full of roe 
and milt, while toward the end of the fishing-season it is thin, empty, 
and has no roe ; " 4 also, " the usual spawning-season of the herring is 
on its first arrival, when it is always wild," 5 and this, if compared with 
the accounts of the early history of the herring-fisheries, 6 points to their 
spawning in autumn, which seems to have continued thus during the 
remaining portion of the fishing period, whenever the herring which 
was caught toward the end of the year is mentioned as having done 
spawning ; 7 and the inconsiderable quantity of fish with roe which were 
caught must have been got at the beginning of the fishing-season, in 
November and December. 8 In the " TrangrumsacV it is mentioned 
that " in January, 1774, three great boat-loads of herring were caught 
in the Ellosfiord, near Morlanda, which in size and thickness, with milt 
and roe, exceeded all the herring which had been caught on the coast of 
Bonus Lan during the previous autumn ; " 9 but I know of no reliable 
account that the " old " herring should , toward the end of the fishing- 
period, have delayed spawning till far in spring, and nothing similar 
is known from Western Norway, (where the great fishery was very sim- 
ilar to that of Bohus-Lan,) or from any other place where herring-fish- 
eries are carried on. 

As regards the place'where the " old " herring staid when not an ob- 
ject of fishery on the coast of Bohus-Lan, opinions are much divided, 
which is quite natural, as there was very little personal observation to 

1 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 88 fr. 19, p. 92, p. 123 fr. 30. 

8 Sundevall, C. J., Stockholms lans Kgl. Hushallnings-Sallskaps Handlingar. VI, Stock- 
holm, 1855, p. 153. — Cederstrom, G. C, Fishkodling och Sveriges Fiskerier. Stockholm, 
18G7, p. 130 och 226 anm. 

3 See chapter II of this report. 
4 Trangrumsacteo, p. 163. 

6 Trangrumsacten, p. 183. 

« Trangrumsacten, pp. 129, 130, 133, 134, 139, 146, 147, 150. 

7 Svensson, Beriittelse om Sillfisket i Bohusliin, Gotheb. 1822, p. 18. — Handl. ror Sillf. 
p. 140.— misson, Handl. ror Sillf., pp. 41, 42.— Sundevall, Handl. ror Sillf., p. 158. 

8 Even during the last period of the "old" fishery did fishing commence about a 
month before Christmas, and herrings were often observed long before this, although 
they could not be taken with nets. (See Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 104 fr. 3, p. 119 fr. 4. — 
Cederstrom, Fiskodling och Sveriges Fiskerier, pp. 208-214.) 

9 Trangrumsacten, p. 146. 


serve as a guide, but simply more or less well-founded suppositions. In 
Doctor Fagrwus's work, " Anmdrkningar rorande sillfislce och trankoJcerif 
which is embodied in the " Trangrummct," l it is supposed, (as Dodd 
and Anderson first suggested, and after them Pennant and others,) that 
the herring had a common place of sojourn near the north pole, from 
whence large schools emigrated every year to those places where herring- 
fisheries were carried on. 2 This supposition was eagerly taken up by the 
oil-refiners and other comparatively educated persons on the coast of Bo- 
hus-Lan, 3 but did not coincide with the opinion of the uneducated fisher- 
men. These latter, who distinguished the M old n herring as a u regular 
sea-herring" 4 from the kind of herring peculiar to the Skagerack, seem 
to have considered the North Sea as its proper home; 5 an opinion which 
Professor Nilsson considered so entirely without foundation, that he did 
not think it worth refuting. 6 This opinion of the Bohus-lan fishermen 
has been taken up by Norwegian naturalists, who had made a specialty 
of the study of the herring and the herring-fisheries. 7 Professor Nilsso7iy 
on the other hand, and those who unconditionally followed him, sup- 
posed that it only went a short distance from the west coast of Sweden, 
u and certainly never went beyond the Skagerack. 7 ' 8 This opinion of 
Professor NUsson was based on the supposition that the herring, when 
not an object of fishery on the coast, lived at the bottom of the deep- 
sea valleys or basins outside the coast ; and he maintained his view 
chiefly by the fact that herring are often found in the stomach of the 
codfish. 9 Even Axel BoecTc approved of this last-mentioned opin- 
iou, 10 against which subsequently well-founded objections have been 
raised by G. 0. Sars 11 and G. C. Cederstrom, 12 which, doubtless, will lead 
to an entirely different view regarding this most important point in the 
question of the herring-fisheries. 

Closely connected with this is the question regarding the fate of the 
old herring after abandoning the spawning-places on the coast of Bohus- 
lau. Thirty or forty years ago our most prominent zoologists sup- 
posed that the whole race of herrings, with the exception of the young 
left on the coast from last year's spawning, were probably scattered 

1 Tran grnmsacten, pp. 95-150. 

2 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 24-28. 

3 Trangrumsacten, pp. 162, 163.— Dubb, K. Vet. Akad:s Handl. f. 1817, pp. 43. 

* Dubb, K. Vet. Akacba Handl. f. 1817, p. 44. 
« See Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 53,57. 

• Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 68. 

7 Boech, A., Om Silden og Sildefiskerierne, pp. 37, 45, 46. — Sars, G. O., Indberetniug f. 
1873, p. 58. 

8 Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 8, 68.— Nya Handl. ror. Sillf., p. x. 

8 Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 7, 8, 42, 43.— Skandinav. Fauna, i v, pp. 503-508. 
. 10 Om Silden og Sildefiskerierne, p. 47.— Tidskrift for Fiskeri. VII, pp. 18, 19. 

11 Indberetning f. 1869, pp. 60-61 ; f. 1873, pp. 46-51. 

13 Naturhistoriska betraktelser och iaktagelser innefattande hanvisningar till lampliga 
eatt att ibrska for att kunna tillforlitligt utreda silliiskarnes tillball och vandringar. 
Stockholm, 1871. Tilliigg, pp. 1-3. 


or destroyed in the sea, 1 or perished in the depth of the ocean, or in an 
unsuitable climate, 2 though there have not been wanting suppositions 
regardiug spawning-places which it was said to visit afterward. Thus 
Professor Mlsson, in his report of November 11, 1826, seemed inclined 
to suppose that the herring, in consequence of the injudicious treatment 
which it experienced among us, turned toward Jutland and Loeso; 3 and 
AxelBoech thinks there was a connection between the Bohus-lan and the 
Scotch-Dutch fisheries. 4 Oscar Andersen mentions a supposition of 0. 
N. Loberg, according to which "the northern great herring would be of 
the same kind as the old Bohus-Lan herring," and would therefore, at a 
later period, "have turned toward the north." 5 Among the professional 
men, the opinion seems at first to have been common that the herring, 
at least in the beginning, had gone to the southeastern part of the North 
Sea; 6 and afterward the opinion seems to have gained ground that 
there was some intimate connection between the Norwegian spring 
herring-fisheries and the Bohus-lan autumn herring fisheries. 7 
. As regards the causes of the re-appearance of the old herring on the 
coast of Bohus-Lan in 1747, after a long absence, there has scarcely been 
any dispute, although the solution of this problem would be of great 
importance. 8 Professor Nilsson and his followers suppose, according to 
the views expressed in Handlingar rorande SillfisJcet, that those herring 
which had remained over from the last great fisheries on the coast of 
Bohus-lan staid undisturbed near the coast, "which, through war and 
pestilence, had become depopulated," and increased gradually, unnoticed, 
so that when they were "suddenly" discovered, they produced an ex- 
tremely rich fishery, lasting sixty years. 9 Those who suppose that the 
large kind of herring are possessed of an innate desire for roaming 
about, see of course in this the only cause of its coming to the coast 
and leaving it again. 10 Among the fishermen on the coast of Bohus-lan 
the opinion seems to have been very common, at the beginning of the 
former fishery -period, that the herring were attracted by the large num- 
ber of marine articulates, which, as is well known, they prefer to any 

1 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 68. 
*Sundevall, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 156. 

3 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 16. 

4 Beretning oin Fiskeri-Udstillingen i Aalesunu, 1864, p. 34. — Om Silden og Sildefiske- 
rierne, p. 129. 

b Andersen, O., Bohuslens Fiskerier. Frederiksbald, 1869, pp. 10, 11. 

6 Lundbeck, 0., Antekningar rorande Bobusliinska Fiskerierna, i synnerhet sillfisket. 
Gotheb., 1832, p. 35. 

'Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 85, p. 101 fr. 22, p. 141.— Nya Handl. ror. Sillf., p. XXVIII. 

s Boeck, Om Silden og Sildefiskerierne, p. 83. 

^Nilsson Fornyad underdanig berattelse om fiskerierna i Bobus Liin. Stockbolm, 1828, 
p. 28, anm. 

l0 Dubb tbougbt a periodicity in meteorological and bydrograpbic events was tbe cause. 
— K. Vet. Akad:s Handl. f. 1817, p. 46. 


other food j 1 an opinion which has recently been more fully developed 
by O. 0. Sars.* 

Regarding the causes of the "old" herring's disappearance from the 
coast of Bohus-liin there has been a great variety of opinion, and the 
dispute has often waxed hot. At a very early period of the " old n 
fisheries it was expected that they would some time come to an end, 3 
and people, therefore, discussed the question of the possible causes of 
such an event, and the means which should be used to prevent such a 
national calamity, and laws were passed with a view to such a contin- 
gency. 4 Passing over the more mythical causes of the disappear- 
ance of the herring, which were given from time to time, and which, 
doubtless, found the greatest favor among the common people, the fol- 
lowing may be assigned as the chief causes of such an event: 

1. That the herrings were gradually destroyed, so that the schools be- 
came smaller and smaller toward the end of the fishing-period 5 — by 
" excessive fishing ;" 6 by catching the young herring in nets with narrow 
meshes j 7 by preventing the herring from reaching the most conven- 
ient spawning-places j 8 and by the consequent destruction of the roe ; 9 
and by unfavorable weather, " an unusual appearance of fish of prey, 
birds of prey," " want of food," &c, &c; " and other influences inju- 
rious to the roe, the young, and the full-grown fish." 10 

2. That the herrings were u slowly and persistently driven aic ay ; vn — by 
noise; 12 by the excessive number of fishermen ; 13 by the use of injurious 

1 R. St. Fiskeri-Deputations Handlingar, 1760-1772. — Enl. Cederstrom, Fiskodling och 
Sveriges Fiskerier, p. 141. 
2 Indberetning for Aaret, 1873, p. 58. 

3 R. St. Fiskeri-Deputations berattelse om fiskeriernas tillstand i Riket gifven vid 
Riksdagen d. 18 Maj 1772. — Enl. Cederstrom, Fiskodling och Sveriges Fiskerier, p. 192. 

4 Traugrutnsacten, pp. 151, 152, 166. 
« Handl. r6r. Sillf., p. 98, fr. 8. 

6 Nilsson, Fornyad underdanig berattelse om Fiskerierna i Bohus Liin. Stockholm, 
1828, pp.22, 29.— Handl. rSr. Sillf., p. 47.— Skandinavisk Fauna, iv, pp.505, 514.— Widegrcn, 
Handlingar och upplysningar rorande Sveriges Fiskerier, i, p. 51; iv,pp. 12, 36. — Nya 
Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 32, 33, 38, 39. 

7 Nilsson, Skandinav. Fauna, iv, pp. 507,514. — Wright, W. von, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 
174. See also, Krtyyer, H., Danmarks Fiske, iii, p. 164. 

8 Nilsson, Fornyad underdanig berattelse om Fiskerierna i Bohus Liin. Stockholm, 
1828, p. 30. 

9 Trangrumsacten, pp. 163-164, 171.— Nilsson, Skandinav. Fauna, iv, p. 515.— For- 
nyad underd. berattelse. Stockh. 1828, p. 30. 

10 Cederstrom, G. C, Fiskodling och Sveriges Fiskerier, pp. 208, 213, anm., 216. — 
Krtyyer, Danmarks Fiske, iii, pp. 162, 163. 

11 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 17, 73-74, 138.— Sundevall, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 152, 
154.— Loven, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 163. 

13 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 17, 18,41, 138. — Skandinav. Fauna, iv, p. 505. — Lund- 
beck, Antekningar, pp. 34-38.— Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 87 fr. 16, p. 99 fr. 10.— Sundevall, 
Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 152.— Wright, W. von, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 172. 

13 Nilsson, Fornyad underd. berattelse, Stockh. 1828, p. 28, anm— Handl. ror. Sillf., 
p. 17.— Skandinav. Fauna, iv, p. 505.— Widegren, Nya Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 33.— Boeclc, 
Om Silden og Sildefiskerierne, p. 85. 


fishing-implements; 1 by interfering with the spawning -process ; 2 by in- 
terfering with the spawning -places generally, 3 and particularly by drag- 
nets, 4 or by throwing offal in the water; 5 by leaving dead herring at the 
bottom of the sea ; 6 by throwing the guts and gills of fish into the water f 
by polluting the water through offal of blubber and similar matter; 8 by 
the increasing number of the enemies of the herring. 9 

3. That the herrings left the coast from an innate desire of roaming.™ 

4. That the herrings were obliged to leave, because there was no longer a 
sufficient supply of food. 11 

The validity of these causes has been disputed almost immediately 
after they had been put forward, and even now there is not one of them 
which has been unanimously recognized as the probable cause of the 
repeated disappearance of the great Bohus-lan fisheries. 12 It was thus, 
e. g., denied at the inquest of 1833 that the herring was destroyed 
through too much fishing,™ and that it was driven away by noised offal 
of blubber™ &c. 

A more extensive and valuable criticism of these supposed causes 
has been given by Kroyer,™ 0. N. L6berg y 17 Axel Boech, ls and others. 

1 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 17, 138.— Skandinav. Fauna, iv, pp. 501, 505. — Widegren, 
Nya Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 33. 

2 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 51, n. b. — Lov4n, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 161. Nya Handl. ror. 
Sillf., p. 64. 

3 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 51, n. b. — Sundevall, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 153. — Widegren, 
Nya Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 33. 

4 Lov4n, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 161, 162. — Ekstrom, Praktisk af handling, pp. 7, 19. 
Nilsson, Skandinav. Fauna, iv, pp. 5H-515.— Widegren, Nya Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 33. 

5 Trangrumsacten, pp. 158, 161, 163, 164, 167, 186-187.— Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 41.— 
Skandinavisk Fauna, iv,p. 514. — Sundevall, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 152, 153. — Loven, Handl. 
ror. Sillf., p. 161. — Ekstrom, Praktisk af handling, pp. 7-8. 

6 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 99 fr. 10.— Lundbeck, Antekningar, pp. 32-33.— Wright, W. von, 
Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 174.— Sars, G. 0., Indberetning f. 1873, p. 45. Trangrumsacten, pp. 
177, 182. 

7 Lovdn, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 161. 

8 Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 41, 138.— Skandinav. Fauna, iv, pp. 505, 514.— Lundbeck, 
Antekningar, p. 31. — Love'n, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 161. — Wright, W.von, Handl. ror. Sillf., 
pp. 172-174.— Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 94, p. 116 fr. 9.— Trangrumsacten, pp. 153, 154, 155, 165, 
172, 176, 183, 185, 186, 188. 

»Dubl>, E., Vet. Akad:s Handl. f. 1817, p. 45. 

w Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 94, p. 99 fr. 9, p. Ill fr. 7, p. 115 fr. 7, p. 128 fr. 24.—Yarrell, 
British Fishes, 3 ed., i, p. 101. — Boeck, Om Silden og Sildefiskerierne, p. 85. 

11 Sars, G. O., Indberetning f. 1873, p. 58. — Cederstrb'm, Fiskodling och Sveriges Fiske- 
rier, p. 213 anm., 216. Trangrumsacten, pp. 164, 167. — Lundbeck, Antekningar, p. 26. — 
Rosen, A. von, Yttrande till Commerce-Collegium d. 8 Juli 1829. 

12 Boeck, Om Silden og Sildefiskerierne, p. 85. 

13 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 87 fr. 15 p. 98 fr. 8, p. 110 fr. 4, p. 122 fr. 23, p. 128 fr. 24.— Nils- 
son, Handl. ror. Sillf., pp. 137-138. 

" Handl. ror, Sillf., p. 92, 95, 99 fr. 10, p. 115 fr. 8, p. 122 fr. 23, p. 128 fr. 24. 
« Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 99 fr. 10, p. 105 fr. 13, p. 110 fr. 5, p. 115 fr. 9, p. 121 fr. 23, p. 
128 fr. 24. 

16 Danmarks Fiske., iii, pp. 164-167. 

17 Norges Fiskerier, pp. 8, 9. 

«Om Silden og Sildefiskerierne, pp. 86-102, 119. 


The enormous masses in which the herrings appear must doubtless, 
if they select a narrow bay as their spawning-place, produce quite a 
change in the nature of the coast, both by their becoming with their 
roe and young ones the food of numerous marine animals, and by the 
food which they and their young ones eat, which change may finally 
assume such dimensions that the coast becomes unsuitable as a spawn- 
ing-place. On the coast of Bohus-lan unfavorable weather has contrib- 
uted not a little toward bringing about such a change. Because a tem- 
perature of + 3° 0. has no destructive effect, it cannot be maintained 
that a still lower temperature, with its consequent formation of bottom- 
ice, will not prove injurious. 1 Not sufficient attention seems to have 
been paid to the very destructive effect which several severe winters, 
following close one upon the other, must have had on the spawning- 
places of the herring, especially on the outer coast. 

Another question winch is closely related to that of the disappear- 
ance of the a old" herring is, why, during the fishing-period, the herrings 
came to the coast at different seasons of the year. Already during the 
first half of the last fishing-period, it was observed in Bohus-lan that 
the herrings commenced to come later, and people began to fear " that 
the herrings, as had happened repeatedly in former times, to the irrep- 
arable injury of the province and the whole kingdom, would leave the 
coasts of Sweden." 2 People began to inquire into the possible causes 
of such an event, and attempts were made through various laws and 
regulations to prevent so dire a calamity. 3 After the herring -fisheries 
had ceased in the year 1808, people thought that in this circumstance 
they had a proof that the herring bad been driven away by the coast- 
population, and the same causes were given for it as were supposed to 
have brought about the stoppage of the fisheries. By Axel BoecWs in- 
vestigations this whole question entered upon a new phase. He showed 
that there always had existed, in this respect, a very remarkable simi- 
larity between the great Bohus-lan fisheries and the Norwegian spring- 
herring-fisheries, 4 a circumstance which gives increased weight to the 
point in question, and possibly contains the key to the question of the 
periodicity of the great Scandinavian herring-fisheries. BoecJc has not, 
however, attempted to assign any cause for the later arrival of the herring 
during the fishing-period, but this has recently been done by G. 0. Sars.* 
Regarding the appearance of the herring on different places of the 
coast during the fishing-period, BoecJc seems to have pointed out the 

1 BoecJc, A., Om Silden og Sildefiskerierne, p. 119. — Widcgren, Nya Handl. ror Sillf,, 
p. 38. — Cederstrb'm, Fiskodling och Sveriges Fiskerier, p. 216. — Edlund, Ofvers. af kgl. 
Vet. Akadrs Forhandl. f. 1863, p. 372; f. 1865, p. 209. 

S R. St. Fiskeri-Deputatious berattelse om fiskeriernas tillstand i Riket afgifven vid 
Riksdagen d. 18 Maj. 1772. — Enl. Cederstrom, Fiskodling och Sveriges Fiskerier, p. 192. 

3 Trangrumsacten, pp. 151-154, 158, 166. 

<Om Silden og Sildefiskerierne, pp. 102-110. 

6 Indberetning for Aaret 1873, pp. 55-56. 


similarities to the Norwegian' spring herring-fishery, and passed by the 
differences. With regard to the Bohus-lan fishery, this fact may be 
explained by well-known meteorological and hydrographic conditions. 
It is also evident, that if fishing, as is done near the coasts of Scotland, 
had been carried on with floating nets, the above-mentioned facts 
would not have become prominent as they are now in consequence of 
fishing with stationary nets. 

Nothing remains now, in conclusion, but to account for the assertion 
that herring "resembling" the "old" herring had been caught near the 
coast of Bohus-lan, or in the open sea near that coast, and to examine 
this assertion a little more closely. 

At the meetings held by the committee of inquiry in 1833, the opinion 
of the fishermen that "herring resembling the old" herring had been 
caught among the other herring was upheld by a majority of those pres- 
ent only at two places, viz, in Stromstad 1 and in Kladesholmeu. 2 If 
we compare the reports given by the fishermen at the former of these 
places with those given on the same occasion by Mr. Norberg, a whole- 
sale dealer, we find that the coast-herring, although distinctly different 
from the '• old" herring, was still thought to resemble it iu some cases, 3 
and thatthelarger herring, which was otherwise caught, was the so-called 
straksill, (wandering herring,) 4 which latter race is still declared to be 
the same as the "old" herring, or, at least, is said to resemble it very 
much, by old men in Stromstad. It does not, therefore, seem improb- 
able that either of these species of herring was meant by the answers 
given to the nineteenth question put by the committee. If we further 
compare the latter of the above-mentioned answers with those received 
in the same place to the seventh question, it also appears that another 
kind of herring was thought to resemble the " old " herring. The answer 
to the thirtieth question, 5 however, undoubtedly implies the coast-her- 
ring. 6 As the answers given by the salters Schiller and Mjoberg' 7 were 
disputed by all the fishermen present, and as the former of these men 
had only witnessed the " old " fisheries when very young, and both evi- 
dently meant the coast-herring, these answers may chiefly have been 
called forth by the conviction — discarded at a later time — of the cor- 
rectness of Professor Nilssori's views. Mjoberg was the only person who, 
at the inquest of 1833, positively asserted that herring was constantly being 
caught ou the coast of Bohus-lan which not only resembled the "old" her- 
ring, but was of the same kind. If we compare the answers received at 

1 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 87-88 fr. 19. 

2 Handl. roT. Sillf., p. 123 fr. 30. 

3 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 92. 

4 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 95. 

6 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 123. 

«See Norberg's, Schiller's, and Mjiiberg's similar answers: Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 92, p 
112 fr. 16, p. 127 fr. 17.— Ekstrom, Ofvers. af Kgl. Vet. Akad:s Forhandl. f. 1848, p. 84 

7 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 112 fr. 16, p. 127 fr. 17, p. 128 fr. 26. 


Fjellbacka and Gullholinen regarding herring u resembling " the " old n 
herring, which were taken from the stomachs of cod-fish, 1 with the an- 
swers received at Grebbestad, where herring found under the same cir- 
cumstances were described in such a manner as to leave no doubt that 
coast-herring were meant, 2 (which is also confirmed by W. von Wrights 
report on the herring-fisheries in Bouus-lau during the winter 1842-M3, 3 ) 
and with the answers received at Kladeshoimen and Kalfsund, (where 
herring obtained under such circumstances were declared to have been 
of different size 4 or altogether sea-herring, 5 ) and if we take into consid- 
eration the fact that it is always more or less difficult to ascertain to 
what kind of herring a badly-preserved specimen belongs, such accounts 
can scarcely be considered as of any great importance. Still less weight 
can be attached to the accounts received at Fjellbacka, that herring re- 
sembling the " old" herring had been seen in the Kattegat, 6 as the fish- 
ermen on the northern coast, neither at that time nor later, have carried 
on any great fisheries, and as entirely different accounts were received 
from the central and southern coasts, 7 where such fisheries were carried 
on. It must also be remembered that although the correctness of the 
minutes of these meetings was certified, still there might have been 
expressions used which might have been misunderstood by a clerk not 
entirely familiar with the coast population, a case which seems still 
more probable, as the questions were, perhaps, not always propounded 
in a form most intelligible to the fishermen. During the more produc- 
tive sea-herring-fisheries it happens not un frequently that some old per- 
son who either remembered the u great " fisheries, or has, in his youth, 
heard some lively traditions regarding them — and who, consequently, 
is considered more knowing in such questions than other persons — 
asserts that herring of the old kind have been caught, 8 which joyful 
news then goes the round of the papers, awakening anew among a por- 
tion of the coast-population the hope that another great herring- fishery 
is near at hand. 9 Thus it happened last winter that an old woman, who 
could well remember the former fisheries, declared most emphatically 
that she recognized " great n herring among the larger herring caught 
with the sea-herring. The mackerel-fishers occasionally observe schools 

* Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 107 fr. 22, p. 108 fr. 31, p. 117 lr. 13. 

3 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 100 fr. 15. 

3 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 166. 

4 Handl. r5r. Sillf., p. 119 fr. 8.—Nilsson, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 46. 

6 Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 126 fr. 15. 

e Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 107 fr. 22, p. 108 fr. 31. 

7 Handl. rOr. Sillf., p. 116 fr. 13, p. 119 fr. 8, p. 126 fr. 15. 

8 Wright, W. von, Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 172.— Ekstrom, Olvcrs. af Kgl. Vet. Akad:s For- 
handl. f. 1848, p. 84. 

9 Lundbeck, Antekningar, p. 24, 25. — Edenhielm, G., Utlataudo till Commerce-Collegium 
af d. 2 Mars 1840.— Ekstrom, Ofvers. af Kgl. Vet. Akadrs Forhandl. f. 1844, p. 26.— 
Yhlen, G. von: Goteborgs. och Bobuslans. Hushallnings-Sallskaps. Qvartalskrift Juli 
1870, p. 16.— Nya Handl. ror. Sillf., p. 11. 


of large sea-herring, but I have been unable to obtain any account 
regarding it, which would not have been the case if such fish really were 
found in any considerable numbers in the Skagerak. 1 

Among the small herring different kinds are also distinguished, and 
the eminent ichthyologist Kroyer has described one of these as a sepa- 
rate species under the name of Clupea Schoneveldi. 2 Professor Nilsson 
has distinguished " a longer and small northern variety " from the south- 
ern, to which the Clupea Schoneveldi Kr. belongs. 3 Von Yhlen has, on 
the Bohus-lan coast, distinguished "small herring coming from the sea" 
and " small herring belonging to the coast," without, however, asserting 
that they are two different species. 4 

My personal observations have not yet enabled me to explain fully 
whether the different herrings and small herrings are in reality different 
species or not. From what has been said it will be seen that this whole 
question can only be answered satisfactorily after the most careful ob- 
servations have been carried on for years, and by a critical comparison 
of specimens of every age obtained at different seasons of the year. At 
the first superficial glance the difference of species seems easily decided, 
but on a closer examination one difficulty after the other presents itself. 
And still, if the question of the herring-fisheries is to be answered satis- 
factorily and practically, these difficulties must be so completely over- 
come, that a sufficient knowledge is obtained of the period when each of 
these species is generally caught on the coast, and of the quantities 
which are caught. 



The spawning of the spring-herring goes on during the months of 
March, April, and May, 5 in suitable places on the coast, of which 
only a few are generally known, because the fishing with stationary 
nets, which are the most convenient for catching spawning-herring, 6 
is not common in Bohuslan; and also because drag-nets can be 
used only in exceptional cases in those places where the herrings 
spawn. A bottom free from stones and rocks, and perfectly even, 
is very seldom fouud on the coast of Bohuslan, since, over a hilly bot- 
tom, which offers the best places for spawning, the drag-nets cannot gen- 
erally be drawn. It seems that the herring also often spawns on a 
clayey bottom, overgrown with aquatic plants. Of well-known spawning- 

1 Sars, G. 0., Indberetning f. 1873, p. 54. 

2 Daumarks Fiske, iii, p. 138. 

3 Skandinavisk Fauna, iv, p. 518-520. 

H Goteborgs och Bohusliins Hushallnings-Siillskaps Qvartalsskrift, Juli 1871, p. 52; 
Juli 1872, p. 50-51. 

6 It is supposed, however, that the larger spring-herriug spawns somewhat earlier on 
the northern and central coasts, beginning even in February ; Dubb, however, main- 
tains that the herring on the southern coast continues to spawn till sometime in June. 
(Reports of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, pp. 35, 44.) 

•See Journal of Pisciculture, VII, p. 20. 


places, there maybe mentioned Bjornsund, in DyneWen, where the herring 
spawos on a hilly bottom, and is caught in stationary nets ; OzevHc, and 
other places in the sound between Bolcenas and Orost, 1 Ulkehdlet, 2 and 
Hummermnd* and several localities near Tjorn, as well as the farms of 
Hastevik, Andal, Ardal, and Gdsesandf on the Hisingen coast, &c.' i Tbe 
herrings which spawn in March and April are generally larger than 
those spawning in May ; the latter being considered the younger, and 
spawning for the first time. 6 This so-called May herring is often found 
among those two years old, sometimes even with those one year old, and 
sometimes with still younger herring. After mild winters and in favor- 
able weather, the spawning begins somewhat earlier than otherwise, 7 
though the spawning-time of the spring-herring seems to have been 
invariably the same, if we may judge from what can be inferred with 
any degree of certainty from the more or less clear accounts concerning 
the fishing for spring-herring and its spawning, found in the "Trangrums 
AcV & concerning the blubber -refineries, m DubVs report on the herring- 
fisheries in Bohuslan, 9 in the reports on the herring-fisheries, 10 and in 
Ehstrorti's reports. 11 

The young herring generally begins to make its appearance in the 
early part of May, and grows so rapidly that toward the end of 
the year it has reached a length of from 2J to 3£ inches. 12 Hav- 
ing measured a large number of herring which were caught during 
the latter half of May, I found the most of them can be divided 
into three groups, according to their size, viz, those measuring about 
4 inches in length, which must be considered as one year's fish ; those 
of from 5J to 6 inches, probably two years 7 fish ; and those of about 6j 
inches, which were supposed to be three years old, and had completely 
developed sexual organs. Some fish were occasionally found with flow- 
ing spawn, measuring only about 2\ inches ; and some measuring some- 
what more, but not yet ripe for spawning the same year. Larger fish, 

1 Wright, W. von, Reports on Herring-Fisheries, p. 166. 

2 Wright, W. von, Reports on Herring-Fisheries, p. 166. EJcstrom, Review of the Reports 
of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1844, pp. 26, 82. 

3 Nils8on, Scandinavian Fauna, IV, p. 509. 

4 Duub, Reports of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, pp. 35, 44. 

6 Compare, also, G. von Yhlen, Quarterly Journal of the Gottenburg and Bohusliin 
Economical Society, July, 1871, p. 51. 

6 This, possibly, was also the case with the "old" herring during the former great 
fisheries. Compare " Reports to the Royal Fishing Deputation for the Year 1764 ;" also, 
Sundevall, Reports of the Royal Economical Society of Stockholm, Liin VI, p. 153 ; and 
Cederstrom, The Propagation of Fish and the Swedish Fisheries, pp. 130, 226. 

7 EJcstrom, Reports of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1844, p. 120. Practical Essay, 
p. 8. 

8 Trangrums Act, pp. 76, 77, 78. 

9 Reports of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, pp. 35, 44. 

10 Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 64, 66, 90, fr. 31 ; p. 117, fr. 1C, 17 ; p. 120, fr. 11, 
16 ; p. 126, fr. 27. New Reports Concerning the Herring-Fisheries, pp. ix, x. 

11 Reports of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1844, p. 120. Practical Essay, p. 8. 

12 Counting from the point of the lower jaw to the root of the caudal fin. 


measuring about 8 inches, are probably four years old. The spring- 
herring sometimes reach a length of more than 12 inches, but even spec- 
imens of 9J inches are rare. The Bohuslan herring seems, therefore, 
to spawn as early as at the age of three, altho'ugh I do not wish to con- 
vey the idea that all the herring sprung from the same year's spawn 
begin to spawn at that age ; but it seems rather as if one portion did not 
reach their maturity till their fourth year. The circumstances that the 
herring spawns during three whole months, and that therefore there is 
a considerable difference in the ages of those that are produced first 
and those produced last, that some have better chances for securing 
food than others, taken in connection with other more or less accidental 
circumstances, explain the fact that fish of all possible sizes are fre- 
quently taken from the same net. 

As to the age at which the herring spawns for the first time, opinions 
have been much divided, both among Scandinavian naturalists and 
those persons who have devoted their life to the herring- fisheries. Pro- 
fessor Nilsson, from information received from " trustworthy fishermen,' 7 
assumes that " no fish spawns in the second year," and that " the her- 
ring does not spawn till the fifth or sixth year." 1 Dean Elcstrom con- 
siders those herring which measure 6 inches (counted from the point of 
the nose to the anal fin) to be two years old ; those measuring from 10 
to 13 inches, from four to five years oldj and adds that "the herring 
found in Bohuslan does not spawn till it measures from 7 to 8 inches, 
counting the whole length." 2 Prof. G. J. Sundevall, who has made ob- 
servations on the growth of the herring on the coast near Stockholm, 
thinks that it becomes capable of spawning when it is from three to 
four years old. 3 Mr. Widegren, superintendent of fisheries, thinks that 
the herring is fit to spawn when it is " about three years old." 4 Axel 
Boetik was inclined to think " that the youngest herring when spawn- 
ing is scarcely less than three years old, and certainly not more than 
four," although he could not give any sufficient reason for this view," 5 
but at the same time said that persons who had been long employed in 
fishing had told him that the herring, when able to spawn, must be from 
six to eight years old. 6 G. 0. Sars, also, seems to have been of the 

1 Report on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 45, 47, 51, 59. 

2 Practical Essay, pp. 10, 11. 

3 Reports of the Royal Economical Society of the Stockholm District, vol. VI, pp. 105, 

4 Some Remarks on the Herring and its proper Preparation for an Article of Com- 
merce, Stockholm, 1871, p. 4. 

6 On Herring and Herring-Fisheries, pp. 36, 37. Piscicultural Journal, VII, p. 20. 

6 On Herring and Herring-Fisheries, p. 36. Piscicultural Journal, VII, pp. 20, 21. 
In the Morning Journal, of November, 1872, Boeck gives a fuller account of similar in- 
formation given him by a professional man, Dahl, regarding the six years' development 
of the herring. According to this, it is called on the west coast of Norway "musse," 
when it is one year old ; " leaf-herring," when two years; "Christiania-herring," when 
three years; "middle herring," when four years; "merchants' herriug," when five 
years; and "spring-herring," when six years old; all which terms seem to be very old 
in Norway. 
10 F 


same opinion as Professor Nilsson, and at first thought that the herring 
became capable of spawning at the age of five years, but afterward as- 
signed the age of six years. 1 

Fishermen generally assume that the small-herring has roe and milt 
during the spring and early summer, and some of them have observed 
the young of the small-herring some time after spawning. The spawn- 
ing of the small-herring may, like that of the herring proper, be delayed 
or hastened by the weather, but otherwise does not seem to change as 
to the time when it takes place. In the reports of Mr. P. Clancey, made 
in his capacity of superintendent of herring fisheries, to the Eoyai 
Chamber of Commerce, it is said, e. g., that on the 11th March, 1811, 
" herring and small-herring were caught having both roe and milt," 2 
which implies that spawning would have taken place at most from 
three to four months later. Hence we may conclude that one cannot 
assume any advance in the spawning-time of the small-herring, in order 
to explain Nilsson's, Wilhelm von Wright's, and Ekstrom's different views, 
since these men take the autumn to be the spawning-season of the small- 
herring. 3 Prof. G. J. Sundevall has found that the small-herring on the 
coast of the Stockholm district spawns at the end of June and in July, 4 
and therefore about the same time as in Bohusliin. Kroyer says of 
the Clupea sprattus that " its spawning-season is mostly in August, but 
that it begins as early as the latter half of June, and sometimes extends 
to September," 5 and of the Clupea Schoneveldi that "in males caught 
early in the spring the milt was found to be considerably developed," 6 
which points to a somewhat earlier spawning-season for the last-named 

The few observations which I have been able to make on this point 
prove that the spawning of the small-herring on the central coast begins 
at the end of May or the first of June. Its spawning-season may, pos- 
sibly, begin somewhat earlier on the northern coast and a little later 
on the southern coast. 7 Small-herring caught in the autumn or winter 
never have any roe or milt, a circumstance which could easily be ascer- 
tained in the preparation of the so-called boneless anchovies ; and yet 
they are not very thin either, which shows that they cannot have 
spawned immediately before the commencement of the fisheries. The 
small-herring which I had occasion to observe during the spring is 

'Report for 1872, pp. 38, 39; Report for 1873, p. 44, note. 

2 Cederstrom, Fish-Culture and the Swedish Fisheries, p. 215. 

zNilson, Prodronms Ichthyologies Scaudinavicse, p. 22. Scandinavisk Fauna, IV, 
p. 521. Wright, W. von, Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 167, 175. Ekstrom, Prac- 
tical Essay, pp. 9, 103 ; Review of the Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences, 
for 1844, p. 26. 

4 Reports of the Royal Economical Society for the District of Stockholm, VI, pp. 
109, 185-187. 

6 Denmark's Fish, III, p. 191. 

•Denmark's Fish, III, p. 201. 

* Nilsson, Scandinavisk Fauna, IV, p. 521. 


smaller, and is more like the variety Schoneveldi Kr. than those which 
I saw caught on the northern coast toward the end of last year. 

It is said that the young of the small-herring begin to show them- 
selves in the northernmost portion of the coast about midsummer, or in 
the beginning of July. I cannot give any information gathered from 
other persons, as to how rapidly the small herring grows, and how old 
it is when it spawns for the first time ; and the observations made by 
myself are still too few and incomplete to draw from them any accurate 
conclusion. But as I have, in the mean time, received from Kalfsund 
small-herring, measuring not quite 100 millimeters, (96-97,) whose sex- 
ual organs were considerably developed ; and as most of those which I 
procured at Tjorn during May, and which were capable of spawning, 
only measured from 100 to 110 millimeters, it seems to me not improb- 
able that the small -herriug can spawn for the first time when it is two 
years old j although I believe that this is by no means the case with all 
the fish born during the same season. The largest small herring which 
I could get measured 149 millimeters, but even specimens measuring 
140 millimeters are very rare. 


As I was able to make but few personal observations on these points, 
I endeavored to ascertain from experienced fishermen on the coast what 
they had observed, and then compared their observations with all the 
literature on the subject which was accessible to me, in order to find how 
far discrepancies existed. 

The herring and small-herring are usually found in separate schools 
and do not intermingle. They seem not to get on well together, and 
must be considered rather as enemies of each other. If, therefore, her- 
ring are caught in any considerable numbers during the small-herring 
fisheries, it is considered an unfavorable omen. When the larger spring- 
herring goes to its spawning-places in great schools, it is not generally 
found consorting with any small-herring. 1 The large herring is con- 
sidered dangerous to the young-herring, 2 and is said, when found in any 
large numbers, to drive away all the other herring, and is therefore dis- 
liked by fishermen on the northern coast. 

In seine-fishing, the herring generally seems to be very much afraid 
of the seine, 3 and cannot often be caught in this manner. The differ- 
ent degrees of clearness of the water plays an important part in this 
operation, and seine-fishing by daytime can, at present, be carried on 
only on the southern coast, where the more turbid water from the rivers 4 

Report on the Herring-Fisheries, p. Ill fr. 8. 

*Ekstrom, Review of Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences. for 1846, p. 29. 

*H. Basch and B. M. Berg, Memorial and Petition, pp. 10, 33."" 

4 F. Ekman, On the Sea- Water on the Coast of Bohusliin, p. 25. 


prevents the herring from noticing the seine till it is too late. The 
large herring is not near as bold a fish as the small-herring, and does 
not make any serious attempts to escape ; while the latter, as soon as 
the seine is hauled on land, boldly pushes against the meshes trying to 
get out, resembling somewhat in this respect the pilchard. 1 

The chief food of the herring on the coast of Bohuslan consists of 
small insects, (" Ganeskar,") which are found, especially during the 
warm season, 2 in great numbers. 

The herring seems to like those gulfs into which some large river 
empties ; and the Skagerack spring-herring is consequently found in very 
great abundance near the mouths of the Gota Kiver and the Glommen, 
(where it has been caught with stationary nets from time immemorial.) 
This may arise from the facts that it finds more food there, and be- 
cause the less salty and more turbid water offers a better protection, 
especially upon the part of the young fish against enemies. 3 

In former times, the large herring often ascended the river as far as 
Goteborg, and once it was found near Tingstad, a mile from Nya Elfs- 
borg. 4 

The herring is found at a greater depth in cold than in warm weather; 5 
and when there is ice, it has sometimes been observed to pass under it. 6 
Near Kalfsund, it has been found that there is frequently good herring- 
fishing immediately after the breaking-up of the ice. 7 This always im- 
plies a change from land-wind and cool weather to sea- wind and milder 

When the water grows warmer, the young herring move to the shallow 
places; but when cold weather sets in, they move to deep water. It 
has been observed, near Hisingen, that during the summer the young 
herring like to come to the mouth of the river when there is an east 
wind, 8 but otherwise they follow the stream out on the coast. After 
mild winters, and during particularly mild spring weather, the spring- 
herring begin to spawn somewhat earlier, and the fisheries consequently 
begin at an earlier period than otherwise. 9 

At the beginning of the u old" fisheries, when the herring still came 
near the coast during the warm season, the land-wind was considered 
most favorable to the fisheries; but since the herring have begun to 

1 Yarrell, British Fishes, 3d ed., I, pp. 143-144. 

8 Ekstrom, Review of the Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1846, pp. 

3 Dubb, Reports of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, pp. 35, 44. Nilsson, Re- 
ports on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 57, 59, 64. 

4 Act concerning Blubber-Refineries, p. 98. — Dubb, Reports of the Royal Academy of 
Sciences for 1817, p. 35. 

6 J. M. Mitchell, The Herring, its Natural History and National Importance, Edin- 
fcurg, 1864, p. 28. 

6 Cedarstrom, Fish-Culture and the Swedish Fisheries, p. 211. 

7 Reports on Herring-Fisheries, p. 129 fr. 28. 

9 Nilsson, Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 64. 

9 Ekslrom, Review of the Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1844, 
p. 120. 


approach the coast during the cold season, this is no longer the case. 1 
This change has been attributed to the blubber-refining establishments. 
An east wind increases the saltness and purity of the sea-water, 2 but it 
retards the current coming from the North Sea toward the gulfs, and 
consequently lowers its temperature during the cold season, and favors 
the formation of ice. As to the most favorable time for fishing, (which, 
as is well known, is chiefly carried on during the warm season,) the old 
saying holds good: "fine and steady weather with high water"* is best. 
A land-wind and low water are generally considered unfavorable ; * while 
a change, indicated by rising water and falling weather, is considered 
good. 5 On the Fjellbacka coast, and in several other places, it has been 
noticed that the herring goes out from the coast " to meet storm and 
foul weather;" 6 but that after the storm fishing is very good again. 7 

During the spring- herring fisheries near Hisingen, the herring are 
said to move, during the land-wind, farther up toward the mouth of the 
river, and there is then good fishing near G&sesund and Ardal, and near 
Ny-Elfsborg; while during the west and south wind, the best fishing is 
near Andal and Hiistevik. Very mild winters, with continuing violent 
sea-winds, are thought to drive the sea-herring to the coast. 8 

Although I think it proper not to increase the number of suppositions 
regarding the herring and the herring-fisheries, (which, by the way, is 
easy enough, even with only a very superficial knowledge of the her- 
ring-literature,) I deem it best not to omit noticing in this place the 
similarity between the approach of the so-called sea-herring to the coast 
of Bohuslan, and the direction which the current of the sea takes 
from the North Sea to the Skagerack. This current flows from Skagen 
toward the Paternoster Eock 2 just outside of which it turns toward the 
north, and then follows the coast. 9 Fishing for those herring which 
come from the sea usually commences near Tjorn and the Marstrand 
Islands, from which the herring spread toward the south and north. 10 In 
this latter case, they follow the current of the sea, and as this leaves the 

1 Act Concerning the Blubber-Refineries, pp. 176, 177. 
*Ekman, On the Sea-Water on the Coast of Bohuslan, p. 26. 
3 Act Concerning the Blubber-Refineries, p. 84. 
A Dubb, Reports of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, p. 46. 
6 Mitchell, The Herring, p. 33. 

6 Act Concerning the Blubber-Refineries, p. 73. Wright, W. von, Report concerning 
the Herring-Fisheries, p. 167. Mitchell, The Herring, pp. 97-98. 

7 Vubb, Reports of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, p. 46. Mitchell, The Her- 
ring, p. 98. 

8 Act Concerning Blubber-Refineries, p. 177. Report on the Herring- Fisheries, pp. 86 
fr. 11, p. 113 fr. 22, p. 128 fr. 27. Mitchell, The Herring, pp. 28, 33. 

9 Klint,, The Bohus Bay and the Kattegat, Stockholm, 1840, p. 89. Arwidsson, Th. 
The Bohus Bay and the Kattegat, Stockholm, 1869, p. 3. Ekman, F., On the Sea- Water 
near the Coast of Bohuslan, p. 23. 

10 Reports of the Fishery-Commission, 1760-72. Cedcrstrom, Fish-Culture and the 
Swedish Fisheries, p. 131. Act Concerning Blubber Refineries, p. 6. Dabb, Reports of 
the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, p. 34. Wright, W. von, Report on the Herring- 
Fisheries, p. 174. 


coast north of Sotenas the sea-herring fisheries on the northern coast 
have been less certain and comparatively less productive than those 
on the central and southern coasts. 1 The reason why the " old n herring, 
in the beginning of the fishing period, moved farther south, and toward 
the end of the same period more toward the north, must be found, no 
doubt, iu the uneven temperature of the respective portions of the sea 
toward the end of the summer and the beginniug of autumn on toward 
winter. It is possible that the so-called " deep trough," from which there 
is a branch toward the Marstraud Bay, has likewise some influence on 
the route which the herrings take when they approach the coast. 

The current of the sea, which enters the Skagerack with considerable 
violence, of course facilitates the movement of the herring, and by main- 
taining a more even temperature has doubtless great influence on their 


The common coast-herring fishery is, in Bohuslan, generally of but 
little importance, and is carried on mostly for the every-day supply of 
the inhabitants of the coast ; but, by the combination of several favora- 
ble circumstances, it is sometimes more productive and even quite remu- 
nerative. This fishery is carried on along the whole coast of Bohus. 
Ian, although it is only important in the northern portion, and near 
Hisingen. During the autumn, especially in October, small quantities 
of the so-called a autumn herring n are caught between Hafstensund 
and the Sacke Bay. A few fish of this kind have been caught occasion- 
ally, even on the Fjellbacka coast. From the beginning of March on 
through the spring, so-called spring-herring have been taken with sta- 
tionary nets in Dynekilen, (a bay,) and in the Ide Bay, and such fish, 
with loose roe and milt, have been sold during March in Stromstad for 
12J cents a score. This herring-fishery, although of no great impor- 
tance, is carried on even with small drag-nets, in several localities both 
on the northern and central coasts, but chiefly on the latter, where, in 
some places, e. #., Ulkaehalet and Hakeniis, both belonging to the district 
of Tjorn, it has furnished an ample supply for the households of the 
fishermen ; while, in other places, e. g., Hummersund and Stockeviken, 
both situated on the southern side of the Tjorn Promontory, the fishing 
has been exceedingly poor. Fish for household-supply have also been 
caught with stationary nets in some other places on this coast. Near 
Hisingen, the spring-herring fisheries have, this year as well as during 
previous years, been very good. This fishery commences about the 
middle of March, and is generally continued till the middle of June. 
The first herring caught, w r hich are the proper spring-herring, are some- 
what larger, and much less mixed with other herring than those caught 
during May and the beginning of June, (these being called " May her- 
ring,") and are generally fatter and better. Fishing is chiefly carried 

1 Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 106. 


on here with so-called spring, or two-men's, nets, but also with station- 
ary nets. Herring here sell from 25 cents to 28 cents a score, but when 
they are very plentiful they only bring 12 J cents. The two- men's nets 
have, during the last year, generally caught from $56 to $112 worth of 
the fish, and one of them is said to have yielded its owner the sum of 

The one and two years' old young coast-herring are caught in smaller 
numbers in the beginning of the autumn on the southern coast and on 
some portions of the central coast, and are occasionally found among 
the small herring when these are taken. During the winter and the 
beginning of spring, some are likewise found among the so-called sea- 
herring. The so-called May herring, which is caught toward the end of 
the spring and the beginning of summer, is often mixed with similar 
small-herring. From the end of April till the end of summer, more sea- 
herring are caught during the small-herring fisheries north of Orost. 
Quite young herring, which are sometimes found in enormous quantities, 
are caught as bait for the eel-boxes x near Hisingen and some other 
places on the coast with " dog-nets," (nets with very narrow meshes.) 

Fishing for sea-herring, coming from the sea to the coast in large num- 
bers, begins near Kladesholm between the New- Year and the 13th ot 
January, and almost at the same time near Marstrand and Hermano. 
On the southern coast, it begins somewhat later; on the Fjellbacka coast, 
about the middle of January; and, near Stromstad, toward the end of 
the same month, and is everywhere very productive. On the southern 
coast, the fisheries continue, with short interruptions, till the middle 
of March; and, on the northern coast near Fjellbacka, till near the end of 
February ; but, near Stromstad, they continue one month longer. Near 
Tjornekalf and on the southern coast, the great herring nets are taken 
to pieces about Easter, as the fisheries during the latter half of March 
are not very productive; but there have been years when fishing with the 
large nets has been continued till the beginning of May. The sea-her- 
ring caught during winter are generally of an excellent quality and bring 
a good price, so that the fishermen earn a very good living. The largest 
income from any single net was $2,520. 

Herring, spawning in the autumn, have not, as far as my knowledge 
extends, been caught anywhere during this year on the coast of Bohuslau. 

Fishing for the herring proper is mostly carried on with nets of dif- 
ferent description, and in some places with stationary nets. Other kinds 
of nets are rarely used, although occasionally good hauls are made with 
them by poor fishermen. 

The sea-herring when tolerably small is occasionally made into ancho- 
vies 2 by less conscientious traders, although this has not happened this 
year on the coast of Bohusliin. It scarcely pays to salt the spring-her- 

1 This is also done in Norway. Easch and Berg, Memorial and Petition, p. 37. Sars, 
O. 0., Report for 1872, p. 35. 
*Nil88on, Scandinav. Fauna, IV, p. 522. 


ring, and if it is done, it is only for home-consumption or when the her- 
ring are so plentiful that the market is overstocked with fresh fish. 
Even the fresh sea-herring brings so good a price that salting, for which 
it is otherwise well suited, does not pay, and has therefore been done 
only with small quantities. It is well adapted for smoking, although, 
of course, but very few have been thus prepared. 


The autumn and winter fisheries. — Not many small-herring are caught 
on the southern coast, and these during the autumn are mostly mixed 
with the sea-herring, while but few small-herring are found among the 
sea-herring when these are caught later in the season. 

On the central coast, near Marstrand and south of Tjorn, good-sized 
and fat small-herring were caught all through the autumn from October, 
and these were almost entirely free from sea- herring, which but seldom 
occurs on this coast; and some small-herring were caught later among 
the sea- herring. Near Oxevik, at Brofjord, not far from Northern 
Grundsund, as well as in many other places, fine and unmixed small- 
herring have been caught during the entire autumn from October till 
Christmas, when the fisheries ceased, and most of the nets were taken 
to pieces. The same was also the case near Hunnebo Strand, and in 
the Battnafjord, where the small-herring fisheries are not very im- 

On the Fjellbacka coast, the fisheries commenced in October and con- 
tinued, with brief interruptions, till the end of the year, and the fish 
caught were nearly all fine specimens and not mixed with other herriugj 
but in other years, it has happened that the fisheries commenced even as 
early as September, and the small-herring were, on an average, of a less size. 
The largest number caught at a single haul was about five hundred 
bushels. By witnessing and examing numerous hauls, I convinced my- 
self that the fish were not at all mixed with young small-herring or sea- 
herring. In a haul of from twenty-five to fifty bushels, scarcely a score 
of sea-herring could be found, and small-herring, measuring less than 
100 millimeters, could not be found at all. Some sea-herring are said 
to have been found in the beginning of the fisheries, and toward the end 
of the year they became more frequent. During the sea-herring fish- 
eries, more or less small-herring were caught, occasionally in such num- 
bers that it paid to pick them out and pickle them. 

On the Stromstad coast, the small-herring fisheries commenced in 
October and continued in very inconsiderable hauls till Christmas, when 
the small-herring became more or less mixed with the sea-herring, 
although even then an occasional haul was found to be entirely unmixed. 
The mouth of January yields the largest quantity of small-herring on 
this coast, although last year this was not the case. 

In the Siicke Bay, the small-herring fishery proved almost an entire 
failure ; but near the Hval Islands, Norwegian fishermen caught small- 


herring, which were mostly sent to Sponvigen and pickled there. The 
fisheries this year, however, were by no means as productive in the 
boundary- waters of Sweden and Norway as they usually are. 

Small-herring were generally sold, during the autumn fisheries, for 
from 56 cents to $1.40 a bushel. 

As the sea-herring greatly predominate on the southern coast, so do 
the small-herring on the northern coast, where a successful haul of sea- 
herring is considered a rarity. 1 Even among the largest hauls of sea- 
herring on the northern coast, the small-herring were found in consider- 
able numbers ; and, in 1843, the last year of the first half-century of the 
great fisheries, (of which we possess without a doubt a faithful and reli- 
able account,) it was estimated that about half the income from the fish- 
eries came from the small-herring. 2 Wilhelm von Wright deserves great 
credit for having first drawn attention to the importance of the small- 
herring and its common appearance on the northern coast. 3 Professor 
Mlsson, on the other hand, has so completely underestimated the inr 
portance of the small-herring fisheries on the coast of Bohuslan that 
he proposed, in order to prevent any sea-herring from being caught 
among them, to forbid this fishery entirely, 4 or at least with any other 
nets than drag-nets or stationary nets ; 5 an opinion which, as is well 
known, was shared by the Royal Academy of Sciences, and which, by 
an ordinance of His Majesty of June 29, 1852, became a law. 6 

G. von Yhlen's opinion that those herring which have been caught in 
good fish-years during the last sixty years, especially in 1812, 1817, 1831, 
1840, and 1843, were, as far as he could ascertain, chiefly small-herring, 
possibly mixed with some larger herring, 7 does not seem to me correct, 
either as regards researches made by myself among old acts or as re- 
gards information gleaned from old fishermen, all of whom maintained 
that the sea-herring were those which appeared in the largest numbers 

1 Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 101, 106 fr. 17. Professor Nilsson , s and others 
supposition that it is different, (Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 55,65 ; Ekstrom 
Practical Essay, p. 29; note, New Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. xiv,) and his 
underestimate of the small-herring's importance and numbers created the belief on the 
coast that our naturalists consider the small-herring to be only the young of the her- 
ring proper. 

2 W. von Wright, Report on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 169 

3 Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 167, 168, 169. 

4 Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 18. 

6 Ekstrom, Practical Essay, p. 112. Fahrceus, 0. 1., Memorial regarding the Petition 
of Several Fishermen in the Parish of Tanum to have the Royal Ordinance of June, 
1852, changed ; presented November 9, 1853. 

6 New Report on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. ix, xv, xx, xxi. 0. 1. Fdhraeus. Memo- 
rial regarding the Petition of Several Fishermen in the Parish of Tanum to have the 
Royal Ordinance of June, 1852, changed ; presented November 9, 1853. Letter of His 
Majesty the King, dated February 25, 1855, to the Governors of Goteborg and Bohus- 
liin, regarding certaiu regulations for making the fisheries on the coast of Bohuslan 
more productive. New Report on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 53, 59. 

'Quarterly Journal of the Goteborg and Bohuslan Agricultural Society, July, 
1867, p. 52 ; April, 1868, pp. 43, 44. New Report on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 11, 12. 


whenever they came near the coast. 1 In the large fisheries which are 
carried on in the boundary- waters between Sweden and Norway, and in 
which the Swedes have taken a part only during the last twenty or 
thirty years, the small-herring are said to have always predominated, 
with the exception, perhaps, of the last weeks of the fishing-season. 

The spring and summer fisheries. — Near Ulkehalet, in the sound between 
Mjorn and Tjorn, a few small-herring have been taken, which had fully- 
developed sexual organs. At Orost, in the parish of Torp, small-her- 
ring have usually been caught during the spring, which likewise had 
fully-developed roe and milt. 

During these fisheries, the small-herring have often been found mixed 
with sea-herring, and so-called u grass-herring," (herring one year old.) 
During the last great fishing-period, the small-herring seem to have been 
more numerous during the summer than is now the case. 2 

The small-herring fisheries on the coast of Bohuslan are carried on 
entirely with nets, as all the other fishing-implements would yield too 
little result. I know only one fisherman on the coast of Bohuslan who 
fishes with a purse-net, and only one who fishes with stationary nets. 

More than 5,000 tons of small-herring have been prepared during the 
fishing-year as anchovies, especially at Stromstad, Fjellbacka, Grafvarne, 
Lepekie, Uddevalla, Gullholmen, Nosund, Kyrkesund, and Marstrand. 
The smaller kind are considered the best for making anchovies, because 
they have a finer flavor and smaller bones. Young small-herring are, in 
Norway, made into anchovies, and they are particularly well suited for 
this purpose ; but, as in a fresh condition they cannot stand the long 
journey to the salting-establishments, they are very seldom used for 
this purpose by our manufacturers. 


Nets properly so called. — Large herring -nets. — These nets, which, at 
least on the southern coast, are used for catching the herring coming 
in from the sea, and which are very much like the nets used for catch- 
ing herring during the "old" fisheries, are now almost confined exclu- 
sively to the southern coast, only a few being found on the central and 
northern coasts. 3 These nets are generplly 120 fathoms long and 12 
fathoms deep. On the southern coast, they have usually 18 meshes to 
the yard ; but, on the central and northern coasts, they have 22 meshes. 
On the southern coast, all the meshes are equally fine ; but, on the north- 

1 In the Report on the Salt-Water Fish of Bohuslan for 18C9, von Yhlen mentions 
the frequent occurrence of "fjord herring." See Quarterly Journal of the Goteborg 
and Bohuslan Agricultural Society, July, 1870, p. 16., which may be compared with 
the July number, 1871, p. 52, of the same journal. 

2 Act Concerning Blubber-Refineries, pp. 73, 75. 

3 The nets used in the northern portion of the central and northern coasts corre- 
spond both in their construction and the manner in which they are used more with tho 
middle-sized nets used for fishing for small-herring. 


em coast, the outer ends (wings) have larger meshes. For each wing, 
they have 500 fathoms of line on the southern coast; while, on the cen- 
tral and northern coasts, they have shorter lines. On the southern coast, 
the line is hauled in by a winch, and the stone weights are likewise 
brought up in this manner. On the southern coast, twenty men usually 
belong to a net, while, on the northern coast, only fourteen. Before the 
net is cast, the current is examined, but no search is made for the her- 
ring. The nets can only be hauled on land in a few places on the coast 
of Oekero, e. g., (where these places are most numerous, from 12 to 15 
only, in number,) where there is deep water close up to the coast. The 
net while being dragged moves along the bottom, and its position is in- 
dicated by floats, which are fastened to long ropes. Fishing is carried 
on in about the same manner as Ekstrom has described it. 1 

Middle-sized nets. — On the whole central coast and on the northern 
coast, with the exception of its northernmost portion, these nets, which 
are mainly intended for the small-herring fisheries, are in common use. 
They are from 50 to 100 fathoms long, and from 21 to 29 yards deep, 
having from 20 to 24 meshes to the yard. Generally, however, there 
are 22 meshes to the yard. They are hauled in with winches, and their 
lines vary in length from 100 to 300 fathoms. On the Fjellbacka coast, 
they are usually brought on land in boats. 

Small herring-nets. — On the southern portion of the central coast — 
e. g., near Tjorn — these nets are much used for catching spring-herring, 
sea-herring, small-herring, mackerel, and other fish to be used either for 
bait or in the household. They are from 35 to 40 fathoms long and 
from 12 to 16 yards deep. Their meshes are fine, generally from 18 to 
22 to a yard. In hauling them in, a winch is used, employing generally 
four men. As to their nature and the manner in which they are used, 
they seem to correspond with the " mackerel-nets" mentioned in several 
places in the "Act Concerning Blubber-Eefineries." 2 On the northern 
coast north of Hafstensund, similar nets are used, and are called in 
Swedish "Bolke" nets. They are generally 40 fathoms long, and from 
4 to 6 iathoms deep. Four men haul them in, and no winch is employed. 

Half -nets. — This kind of net is, as far as I am informed, used only near 
Hisingen, where there are said to be four such nets, chiefly used for 
catching sea-herring. They are about 100 fathoms long and 9 fathoms 
deep, and their meshes have the same size as the large herring-nets. 

Nets for small-herring. — These nets, chiefly intended for catching 
small-herring, were introduced twenty or thirty years ago from Sponvi- 
gen, in Norway, where they have been in use for a long time. 3 In the 
neighboring portions of Norway, they were formerly called " herring- 

1 Practical Essay, pp. 21-24. Dubb, Reports of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 
1817, pp. 36-39. 

8 Act Concerning Blubber-Refineries, pp. 73, 77, 79-81. 

* Ekstrom, Practical Essay, p. 29, note. Easch and Berg, Memorial and Petition, 
p. 33. 


nets," to distinguish them from the large nets; and this name they have 
kept both there and on the coast of Bohuslan. These nets are gen- 
erally from 40 to 45 fathoms long, and from 8 to 10 fathoms deep, and 
they have 30 meshes to the yard. They are only slightly weighted down 
with stones, so that they are easily buoyed up by the floats when lowered 
to a great depth. The lines to each wing measure about 100 fathoms. 
They are, properly speaking, intended for fishing in the deep Siicke Bay, 
with its steep shores, where other nets could not well be used. 

Two-men's or spring nets.^These are used on the southern coast for 
catching spring-herring, from the middle of March till near midsummer. 
Besides herring, other fish, such as cod, salmon, &c, are caught with 
them. They are from 65 to 80 fathoms long and 12 yards deep, (only 7 
at the end of the wings.) A wooden pole is fastened, by means of two 
lines, some distance from the wing; and to the middle of this pole is 
attached the line for hauling in, measuring about 100 fathoms in length. 
The meshes in these nets are generally very fine. 

So-called u dog-netsP — These nets, which are small and have very fine 
meshes, are used on the southern coast for catching very young herring 
for bait, but also for catching salmon and other fish. They are used 
during the spring and summer. 

On the northern coast, north of Hafstensund, a similar but somewhat 
deeper net is used, generally from 25 to 30 fathoms long and 4 fathoms 
deep in the middle and tapering off' toward the wings. With these nets, 
three or four men have made from twenty to forty successful hauls during 
the night. As the use of these nets has been for some years prohibited 
in the above-mentioned portion of the northern coast, 1 many of them 
have been altered into nets resembling the small-herring nets, 2 but even 
these were forbidden by a royal ordinance of July 19, 1872. 3 

Stationary nets. — These nets, which have been used on the coast of 
Bohuslan from time immemorial, 4 are well known to the fishermen in 
those parts, although they are not much in use now, since they prove 
remunerative only in exceptional cases. On the southern coast of Hisin- 
gen, near Ny-Elfsborg, about 200 such nets are said to be in use, each 
yard having about 14 meshes. Herring-fishing is likewise carried on 
with such nets outside the mouth of the Northern River. On the Oekero 
coast, fishing for autumn-herring 5 with these nets seems of late years 
to have ceased altogether. Excepting the few stationary nets here and 
there on the coast, there is no fishing with these nets worth mentioning 
north of the Northern Eiver, as far as Dyuekilen and the Idefjord, 
where, however, such nets are used in the spring for catching spring-her- 
ring- __ 

*New Report on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 7, 16. 
8 New Report on the Herriog-Fisheries, p. 52. 

3 New Report on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 3, 58. 

4 All the great Bohuslan herring-fisheries, with the exception of this last-mentioned 
one, have been carried on exclusively with such nets. 

6 See New Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 10-11, 43. 


Small herring are, so far as I am aware, caught with these nets by- 
one fisherman only on the coast of Bohuslan. 

Brag-nets. — At the expense of a Goteborg merchant, Aron Anderson, 
experiments have been .made with such nets which were brought from 
Blekinge, Skane, and Norway, and taken out by a mackerel-boat from 
Kostecj but these experiment have, I believe, been unsuccessful. 

Purse-nets are used in some portions of Norway for catching herring 
and small-herring. 1 In Sweden, they are, as far as I am aware, only 
used near Stromstad, where they have been in use for a longtime for 
catching salmon, and occasionally during May and June for catching 
small -herring. 

Other fishing-implements are but rarely employed in catching her- 

As it has been stated that the large nets now in use in Bohuslan 
have much finer meshes than those used thirty or forty years ago, 2 
and that the nets used during the great fishing-periods have meshes 
measuring from 1 to 1J inches ; 3 and as this is of great importance in 
answering the question how a suitable net should be constructed, I deem 
it necessary to adduce some additional facts which I have gathered. 

As to the nets used during the latter part of the last great fisbing- 
period, it is well known that these generally, at least on the southern 
coast aud the southern portion of the central coast, had sixteen meshes 
to the yard : 4 but at the beginning of this fishing-period, the fisheries 
are said to have been carried on with mackerel-nets having wider meshes/ 
according to information received during the year 1833, by the investi- 
gating committee, from the northern coast. As there is, however, no 
detailed information regarding this matter, it is impossible to obtain an 
accurate idea of the size of the meshes of these mackerel-nets. This 
much only is certain, that these nets, on account of the great size of 
their meshes, were considered useless in fishing for the large herring, 
(although they were not mixed with other herring) ; • that ma«kerel-nets 
with meshes measuring more than one inch are unknown in Bohus- 
lan ; that catching fine and fat mackerel presupposes meshes narrower 
than these ; and that these nets, both during the old fishing-period and 
in later time, have had narrower meshes, at least in the southern por- 
tion of the central coast, where they are continually used for catching 
bait and other small fish. 7 Even in the neighboring portions of Nor- 
way, there are no mackerel-nets in use whose meshes measure more than 

1 Rasch and Berg, Memorial and Petition, p. 34. 
8 New Report on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 24, 66. 

3 New Report on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 24, GZ, 66. 

4 Ekstrom, Practical Essay, p. 20, note 2. Dull, Reports of the Royal Academy of 
Sciences for 1817, p. 36. 

6 Report on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 86 fr. 9, p. 98 fr. 7. Nilsson, Reports on the 
Herring-Fisheries, p. 12. 

6 Nilson, Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 63. 

7 Act Concerning Blubber-Refineries, pp. 73, 77, 79-81. Ekstrom, Practical Essay, p. 110., 


seven-eighths of an inch, the general size being only one-halfof a.n inch. 1 
As the herring during the old fisheries were persecuted by fish of prey, 
even in the inlets, smaller meshes were necessary to increase the strength 
of the net and to prevent the herring from sticking fast in the meshes, 
and this even when the fishing was going on during the daytime, and 
help could easily be secured. 

When Professor Nilsson, more than forty years ago, made his obser- 
vations on the salt-water fish of the west coast of Scandinavia, the 
nets on the southern coast had the same sized meshes as at present, i, e., 
18 meshes to the yard, 2 and they were, therefore, about the same size as 
that prescribed for the small-herring nets by the royal ordinance of July 
19, 1872, while their meshes are somewhat narrower than those pre- 
scribed by the law of December 29, 1857, for the fisheries in the Lim- 
fjord, (Denmark.) In the nets used in the southern portion of the 
central coast, where the small-herring begins to be of importance for 
the fisheries, there were, thirty years ago, 20 meshes to the yard, and 
this is still the case. 3 On the northern coast, near Fjellbacka, where the 
nets are chiefly adapted for catching small-herring, the meshes, in con- 
sequence of a royal ordinance of 1833, are made very narrow, "scarcely 
an inch from knot to knot." * This does not mean, as has sometimes been- 
supposed, that the meshes scarcely measured an inch ; but that the dis- 
tance from knot to knot, when stretched, was scarcely an inch. In 
olden times, the word " mesh," when used in Bohuslan, always meant 
the stretched mesh ; and this meaning has been retained by UJcstrom in his 
often quoted u Practical Essay." The Fjellbacka nets are, therefore, not 
any narrower than they were forty years ago, but they are now gener- 
ally less deep and long. If the nets had had meshes measuring scarcely 
an inch, herring from 3 to 6 inches long, as well as small-herring, could 
not have been caught in them' to any considerable extent; 5 and the 
complaint so often heard that the nets had meshes too narrow would 
have been unfounded. 6 The report made at the Stromstad meeting that 
the meshes " are so large that the thumb can scarcely be pushed 
through," 7 proves that the herring-nets used in that portion of the north- 
ern coast were not narrower than the Fjellbacka nets, nor had they 
larger meshes than those used on the southern coast. 

The method of using the nets in former times is supposed to be very 

1 Rasch and Berg, Memorial and Petition, pp. 28, 29. 
8 Niteson, Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 64. 

3 Ekstrom, Practical Essay, p. 20, note 2, p. 107. (The information that the nots 
should be from 15 to 20 fathoms deep is based on a mistake of the printer.) 

4 Report on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 107 fr. 28. 

6 Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 18, 64-66, 69, 136, 157. 

*Nik8on, Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 18, 64, 80, 143. Scandinavian Fauna, 
IV, p. 507, 514. Sundevall, Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 156. Wright, TV. von, 
Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 174. 

7 Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 91 fr. 36. 


nearly the same as that in present use, 1 except, perhaps, that during the 
old fisheries the greater experience and the more unfavorable localities, 
where fishing was carried on, 2 made the fishermen more practical and 
venturesome, and taught them many a crafty ruse in placing and man- 
aging them, which is now forgotten. In this respect, the inhabitants of 
the northern portion of Bohuslan gained great fame. 3 During the 
great fishing-periods of the olden time, fishing was mostly carried on by 
daytime, which at present is only possible on the southern coast, where 
the water, at least near the surface, is less transparent. 4 The use of so- 
called "locks" is, at present, not known in Bohuslan. 

As the large and deep nets cannot be hauled on land except on a steep 
coast, and cannot be dragged along if the bottom is not perfectly even 
and the water comparatively deep, it will readily be seen that these 
nets cannot injure the spawning-places of the herring on the coast of 
Bohuslan. These spawning-places consist either of a stony bottom 
overgrown with algce, or of a clayey bottom overgrown with zostera? 
over none of which can the nets be dragged. Neither do these nets 
bring up any large quantity of algse and sea-weeds, and for reasons 
which can easily be understood, the fishermen are very particular in using 
them and in keeping them in repair. The places where they can be used 
are comparatively few in number, and at the present time, at least, it 
may be said that the portion of the coast over which they may be safely 
dragged is exceedingly small. In consequence of this fact, the igno- 
rance of the fishermen concerning the spawning-places of the herring is 
very great, and has often been mentioned in the reports on the herring- 
fisheries. On the other hand, smaller and shallower nets can be used 
everywhere on an even bottom overgrown with sea- weeds, or merely 
covered with sand ; and even these nets bring up sea-weeds and small 
fish, especially during the summer. In the spring, when the herrings 
spawn, the sea- weeds are shorter and adhere more firmly to the ground, 
so that the light spring-nets do not do much injury to the grassy bot- 
toms. As to the injury which they may possibly inflict by disturbing 
the spawn, I have not sufficient information. The number of places 
where they can be hauled on land is also very limited. 

It is not necessary to say anything more with regard to the so-called 
" dog-nets," (the fish caught in them being mostly used for bait, 6 ) since 
these, as well as the small nets and two-men^s nets, have become law- 
ful for the coast of Bohuslan, by a royal ordinance of February 23, 

l Dubb, Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, ]£>. 36-39. Eh- 
strom, Practical Essay, pp. 21-24. 

2 Act Concerning the Blubber-Refineries, p. 176. 

3 Dubb, Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences, for 1817, p. 36. 

4 Dubb, Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, p. 39. 
6 Dubb, Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, p. 33. 

8 Dubb, Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, pp. 45, 54. 


With regard to the use of other fishing-implements, and the harm which 
they may possibly do, as well as all other matters pertaining to this sub- 
ject, I respectfully refer to the memorial of Rasch and Berg treating of 
the fisheries on the coast of Norway, from the Swedish boundary-line to 
Langesund, which, on account of the similarity of the localities to the 
coast of Bohuslan, I consider to be of special value. 1 

So far as Baron Ugglcts proposition is concerned, that, for the small- 
herring fisheries, nets of the same size should be used as for the herring- 
fisheries, 2 experience has sufficiently proved how disadvantageous, not 
to say impracticable, such nets must often be, the use of which would 
only seem to be required when extraordinarily large schools of herring 
come in, the small-herring caught being prepared anchovies ; and this 
same opinion would hold good with regard to Counselor 0. 1 F&hraeus's 
proposition that small-herring should be fished for with drag-nets and 
stationary nets. 3 

The size of the meshes prescribed by a royal ordinance of July 19, 
1872, for the small-herring nets to be used on the coast of Bohuslan 
(about 18 meshes to the yard) has called forth several petitions from the 
fishermen on the central and northern coasts, 4 asking for delay in carry- 
ing out this ordinance, and setting forth numerous reasons for retaining 
the present size of the meshes. As this question is doubtless of consid- 
erable importance, I thought it my duty to gather as much information 
as possible on this point from the most experienced and best informed 
fishermen, and to report what I heard. 

With meshes measuring one-half an inch, the smaller kind of small- 
herring; which are mostly used for anchovies, cannot, it is said, be 
caught, as they, unless hindered by larger small-herring clinging in the 
meshes, can easily escape through meshes of the above-mentioned size ; 
while the larger herring remain in the meshes, which, in particularly rich 
hauls, produces several inconvenience, such as — 

1. That the herring which are fast in the meshes hinder, through 
their weight, the hauling-in of the net. On the southern coast, where 
the large herring-nets have meshes of very nearly the prescribed size, 
the small-herring frequently remain in the meshes in such numbers that 
the net looks like a silvery fur when it is drawn out of the water ; and 
as a net, of course, weighs much heavier when so many fish are con- 

1 H. Rasch and B. Af. Berg, Memorial and Petition drawn up by the Commission ap- 
pointed by Royal Ordinance of May 28, 1852, for Investigating the Fisheries in the Bay 
of Christiania and in Langesund ; Christiania, December 31, 1853. 

9 New Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 43. 

3 Royal Reffty to the Petition of some Fishermen in the Parish of Tanum with regard 
to the change of section 22 of the fishery-ordinance concerning the implements to be 
used in the herring fisheries. EhstriSm, Practical Essay, pp. 103, 112. 

4 As long as twenty years ago, a similar petition was sent to the king by the fisher- 
men of the Tanum parish, asking to be allowed the use of other nets than those men- 
tioned in the royal ordinance for- catching small-herring. At the suggestion of the 
governor of Goteborg and Bohuslan, this petition was uot granted. 


fined in the meshes, it is maintained that the introduction of the pre- 
scribed size of meshes obliges the fishing-companies on the northern 
and central coasts to employ more men for each net than is now the case, 
and thereby diminishes their income, which, in poor or even in tolerably 
good years, is small enough ; as, e. g., an income of $84 from one net 
near Stromstad presupposes that it has caught $336 worth of fish; an 
equal income from one net near Kalfsund presupposes that it has caught 
$1,680 worth. An increase of the number of men employed on one net 
from fourteen men (which is considered sufficient near Fjellbacka) to 
twenty (which is the number required at Kalfsund) of course diminishes 
the income considerably ; and with the small-herring nets used in the 
Sackefjord this is said to be even more noticeable. As on the Fjell- 
backa coast the nets are seldom taken up on the shore, but in the boats, 
the inconvenience becomes still greater, as there is not room enough for 
several men to work ; and, furthermore, because the winch cannot be 
used for hauling in the net unless the boats are very much larger and 
consequently more expensive. 

2. That the net, weighed down by the herring clinging to the meshes, 
drags too much along the bottom while it is being hauled on land, and, 
becoming filled with mud and sea-weeds, is found to be unusually heavy 
and difficult to manage. 1 

3. That the herring in the meshes cause the net to sink by their weight, 
and allow some of the fish to escape. Near Kalfsund, this difficulty is 
obviated by the great care taken to have enough men employed to man- 
age the nets. 

4. That it requires much labor to withdraw the herring from the meshes 
and therefore delays the fisheries to a considerable degree. 

5. That the larger-sized small-herring, which are stronger than the 
others and first rush to the meshes, by remaining in them, hinder other 
useless fish from escaping. 

It is also said that the small-herring when plucked from the meshes are 
of scarcely any value, because they have been in most cases considera- 
bly damaged. They do not keep fresh so long in this condition, nor do 
they present so good an appearance. 

It is further maintained that when the meshes are large, any opening 
occasioned by tearing becomes still larger, and that on the whole the 
strength and durability of any net is considerably increased by having 
finer meshes. 

It is quite possible that several of these reasons adduced by the fish- 
ermen for proving the necessity of finer meshes are based on prejudices, 
and on selfish desires to obtain a larger number of fish ; but, on the other 
hand, it is also clear that it is very difficult to root out such old and deep- 
seated prejudices, and that the only way to do this with any hope of suc- 
cess would be to prove the superiority of nets with wider meshes by a 
long series of experiments. The large herring-nets used on the southern 

1 Ekstrom, Practical Essay, p. 109. 
11 F 


coast have meshes of the same size, or only a very little smaller than 
those prescribed for the small-herring nets by the royal ordinance of 
July 19, 1872, but these nets are intended for catching the larger herring, 
and could scarcely be as advantageously employed for catching small- 
herriug as the nets used at Fjellbacka and Siickefjord, although during 
the autumn a considerable number of small-herring was caught on the 
southern coast. 1 Near Fjellbacka I had the opportunity of seeing how 
small-herring, measuring 100 millimeters, and some even larger, squeezed 
through the meshes, and that only very few small-herring measuring 
less than 100 millimeters could be found among the large number of fish 
in the nets. 

In the Limfjord, (Denmark,) where people have had such a long 
-experience in making laws concerning the use of the various fishing- 
implements, the meshes in that portion of the net where the fish are 
gathered measure only 0.55 of an inch, even in nets destined for catch- 
ing herring, to be in keeping with which the meshes in the Swedish 
small-herring nets should measure only 0.05 of an inch. 

Even when the old fisheries on the coast of Bohuslan were in their 
most flourishing condition, when fishermen only now and then caught 
the immature herring, as it was considered unfit for use by salters and 
oil-refiners, 2 nets with nearly as narrow meshes as those in use at 
present were employed, 3 partly in order that the 'herring should no 
remain fixed in the meshes and so make the net heavier, and partly in 
order to give the necessary strength to the nets. 

Wherever net-fishing is carried on on a large scale, the fishermen 
seem to maintain the opinion that the size of the meshes does not 
necessarily imply that any considerable number of fish should remain 
in the meshes; 4 and Mitchell relates that sometimes during the great 
herring-fisheries in the North Sea the nets become so crowded with her- 
ring that they have to be abandoned; 5 and it is said to be no unusual 
occurrence in those parts that nets sink down on account of the large 
number of fish in them. 

A question, intimately connected with that of limiting the use of 
fishing-implements, is that of supplying the demand for bait. The 
greater importance which the so-called winter-fisheries on the southern 
and central coasts have gained during the last twenty years, on account 

1 It is a very different question whether an implement can be used, or whether it can, 
under certain given conditions in a certain place, be used with the sure hope of gain. 
If an implement is very practical in its mechanical application, it by no means follows 
that its use will pay, and an implement which is suited to one place may be entirely 
unsuited to another. 

*Nilsson, Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 63. 

3 Dubb, Transactions of the Royal Academy of Sciences for 1817, p. 36. Ekstrom, 
Practical Essay, p. 20. Wright, TV. von, Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 169. 

4 Mitchell, The Herring, p. 105. De la Blanchb-e, La PGche et les Poissons, Paris, 
1868, p. 725. 

»The Herring, p. 39. 


of the rise in the price of fish and the greatly-increased meaus of com- 
munication, has enlarged this demand very much, 1 which, even twenty 
years ago, called forth, at the request of the fishermen, a limitation of 
section 22 2 of the royal fishing-ordinance, in consequeuce of which nets 
with narrow meshes continued to be used. 3 

The larger portion of the demand for bait 4 is supplied by the large 
herring-nets, from which bait can usually be obtained all through the 
winter. When the great herring-nets are laid up, bait-herring are 
obtained from the two-men's nets, and from other small nets used for 
catching spring-herring. During the summer, when the demand for 
bait is less, since most of the fishermen are employed in the mackerel- 
fisheries, sea-needles, which can be obtained in great quantities from 
the island of Laeso, mackerel, and small Crustacea (as long as these can 
be secured) are used as bait. In the autumn, some bait-herring are pro- 
cured on the southern coast from the " half-nets j 7 ' and on the central 
coast small-herring can then usually be obtained. It is most difficult to 
obtain bait at the end of summer and the beginning of winter, and there 
is then occasionally an actual scarcity of it. 

The supply of Crustacea can only fill a small portion of the demand 
for bait, since a great many are used, and because their favorite places, 
near the mouth of the Gota Eiver, have been much disturbed by dredg- 
ing-machines ; and, also, because the severe winters destroy many of 
them. If these animals were more protected, their number could cer- 
tainly be increased. This, however, is scarcely to be expected, in con- 
sequence of the changes wrought in the fisheries (at least as far as Bo 
husliin is concerned) by the recent fishing laws. 

Stationary nets can be used in Bohuslan with advantage only for 
catching spring-herring, 5 while they spawn, (as also in the beginning of 

1 The oft-repeated saying of the fishermen that they would not be able to make a 
living if they could not catch herring, contains, therefore, much more truth than people 
are willing to acknowledge ; and the strict carrying into effect of section 22 of the 
royal fishing-ordinance, and of the royal ordinance of February 23, 1855, would have 
been a severe blow to the inhabitants of the coast. See 0. 1. lahrayis, Memorial of De- 
cember 22, 1854, regarding the Promotion of the Fisheries on the Coast of Bohusliiu. 

2 Ordiuance of February 23, 1855, for the Better Management of the Fisheries on 
the Coast of Bohuslan. 

3 E. J. E. Vggla, Report on the Salt- Water Fish of Bohuslan for 1859, p. 14; 1860, 
p. 49; 1861, p. 56; 1862, p. 7; 1864, p. 110; 1865, p. 5. New Reports on the Herring- 
Fisheries, pp. 40, 41. G. von Yhlen, Report of the Meeting of Fishermen at Lysekil, 
Goteborg, 1859, pp. 20, 59. O. Andersen, The Fisheries of Bohuslan, Frederikskald, 
1869, p. 14. 

4 Baron Uggla's proposition (New Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 43) is, there- 
fore, not practicable, because, under present circumstances, the demand for bait can be 
filled by the proposed small nets only in exceptional cases, and at a very exorbitant 

6 The assertion which, during the first half of the present century, was often made, 
that it was difficult or impossible to make the use of stationary nets on the coast of 
Bohusliiu general, is proved to be incorrect, amoug other things by the circumstance 
that all the great Bohuslan herring- fisheries, with the exception of the last, have been 
carried on with such nets. 


autumn j) and this only in those places where they are found in large 
numbers, and where, being sold fresh, they can command a higher price. 
Stationary nets, moreover, cannot compete with the other nets used 
during this period, either in cheapness or in the variety of ways in which 
tbey can be used ; for, with the other nets, mackerel, codfish, salmon, 
and other fish are caught in addition to herriug and small-herring; and 
they can also be used during those seasons when herring are not 
caught. Oft-repeated experiments with stationary nets, which have 
been made from time to time, e. g., on the coast near Kalfsund, have 
not been able to e t xtend their use, as they have been too little remuner- 
ative to warrant the fishermen in using them. It is said that at pres- 
ent scarcely any herring can be caught on the coast of Bohuslan with 
stationary nets having meshes of the size proposed by Professor Nil- 
son, 1 (1J of an inch,) because the herring on that coast reach only in 
exceptional cases, a size which prevents them from slipping through the 
meshes. As regards the oft-repeated assertion that, by introducing sta- 
tionary nets, the herring-fisheries are improved, it must be said that this 
kind of net is supposed to have a much more injurious influence on the 
herring-fisheries on a comparatively shallow coast like that of Bohus- 
lan than the large herring-nets, a fact which has also been directly ac- 
knowledged by several persons who recommended the exclusive use of 
the stationary nets. 

Ever since Bohuslan became a province of Sweden, it has been re- 
peatedly said that the inhabitants of that province ought, like the 
Dutch and the Scotch, to carry on their herring-fisheries in the open 
sea with floating nets ; and several attempts, even with very favorable 
privileges or contributions from the king, have been made in this direc- 
tion, without, however, having led to any satisfactory result. The best 
managed attempts of this kind were, doubtless, those which were made 
with boats and nets brought from Holland. Less fortunate, and showing 
want of knowledge of the subject in hand, is a proposition made in 
1774 in the journal " Hvad JSfyaW (WhatNews) to catch herring with Ble- 
king (another province in the south of Sweden) nets, three or four miles 
out in the open sea. 2 Rev. Elcstrom, who is so well versed in everything 
pertaining to fisheries, has recentlj*, in his excellent book and in a very 
practical manner, made propositions in this direction, pointing out the 
best way for carrying on the open sea fisheries, 3 which could be done 
without any great outlay. 

For carrying on fishing with floating nets off the coast of Bohuslan, 
boats and nets of the same kind as those used in Scotland would, doubt- 
less, be required. It has been found in that country that the better 
covered and more seaworthy the boats are, the greater protection they 
offer to the fishermen, and all the safer and more productive will be the 

Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, pp. 81, 8° 
2 Act Concerning Blubber-Refineries, p. 139. 
Practical Essay, pp. 16,93,98,99. 


fisheries. 1 Weak and uncovered boats, and incomplete nets or other 
implements, used in the open-sea fisheries, show that the fishing is yet 
in a somewhat primitive condition. 2 It must also be mentioned that, in 
the Skagerak, during the dark seasou of the year, there are far greater 
meteorological and hydrographical impediments to net-fishing than in 
any other sea of Northern Europe where such fisheries are carried on. 
To make such fishing-methods pay, it is necessary that, during the 
milder season, a considerable number of larger herring should be found 
near the coast, which, however, does not seem to be the case. 3 If the 
herring are to be caught farther out, no other method seems more prac- 
ticable than the Butch method ; but this, as is well known, requires a 
great outlay of money, special experience, and good nautical knowledge. 


In order to carry on the investigations which have been begun to the 
extent mentioned in the " Transactions of the Eoyal Academy of Sci- 
ences," March 12, 1873, the cooperation of several men 4 is doubtless 
required, and has been expressly insisted, upon, for one person cannot, with 
sufficient accuracy, follow the course of the fisheries on the different 
fishing-stations, much less carry on the necessary hydrographical, mor- 
phological, physiological, and biological experiments, &c, which must 
be made. 

The Skagerak and Kattegat are, from a hydrographical point of view, 
almost unknown, aud in order to attain this knowledge, it would be 
necessary (if it is to be at all exhaustive) in a work of such dimensions 
and importance, to have a separate investigation by men specially 
selected for the purpose, and much time in which to do the work. In 
order to compare the hydrographical and meteorological facts with the 
course of the herring -fisheries aud the migrations of the schools of her- 
ring, a very complete series of simultaneous observations would be 
required on these three fields, which a single person constantly traveling 
from one place to another could not possibly make, even if he had some 
assistance. 5 - 

x Tlius, some of the larger boats in Scotland realized during the year 1872 an annua 
income of from £100 to £550 per boat ; while the smaller, uncovered boats, made only 
from £60 to £1G0. 

2 The mackerel net-fisheries, -which at present are carried on in the Skagerak by 
Swedes and Norwegians, must be considered, as regards the seaworthiness of the boats, 
the excellence of the nets, and the result of the fisheries, the best iu the whole of 

3 Practical Essay, p. 32. Nilsson has never proposed that any such net-fisheries should 
bo carried on near the coast. See New Report, Stockholm, 18:28, p. 31. 

4 New Reports on the Herring-Fisheries, p. 73. 

6 In Norway, the investigations of the herring-fisheries have been very much aided by 
the overseers of fisheries, aud by information given in the journals, while this has not 
been the case with us. 


Accurate anatomical observations on the development of the sexual 
orgaus, and their condition at different ages and periods, require, in 
order to satisfy the claims of scientific accuracy, uninterrupted opportu- 
nity, a constant supply of fresh material, and all the necessary scientific 
apparatus. Well-arranged aquaria would also be of the greatest value 
for some of these investigations. 

While occupied with the observations which I had been commissioned 
to make, I soon became satisfied that, in order to obtain an entirely 
satisfactory and decisive result, it would be necessary to establish 
a complete station for scientific observations of the ocean in some 
convenient place on the coast ; which station ought to be furnished 
Avith the required meteorological, hydrographical, botanical, and zoolog- 
ical working force, and with a full set of scientific apparatus. That 
such a station would, moreover, contribute much new and valuable infor- 
mation to this branch of natural science, and would also become really 
indispensable in this respect, is just as evident as that its observations 
would and ought to extend far beyond the range of the present investi- 

As the so-called " great old" fishing-period has, during the whole dis- 
cussion regarding the best method of carrying on the fisheries inBohus- 
liin, been presented as an interesting and instructive example, and as 
being intimately connected with the present fisheries, a complete and 
accurate history of this period would be of great importance, and this 
the more so as the facts we possess concerning it are too few, and have 
been collected mostly from sources dating after the end of this period. 
Even those works and public reports from 1809 to 1855 which treat of 
the present Bohuslan herring-fisheries and other subjects connected 
with them, ought to be searched much more carefully than has yet been 
done, in order to furnish a complete epitome of their contents. 1 

In order to observe satisfactorily the migrations, mode of life, and 
place of sojourn of the herring during the fishing-season, as well as 
their course in the water under different temperatures, &c, experiments 
with floating and stationary nets, having different-sized meshes, should be 
made at all seasons of the year, both near the coast and in the open sea; 
for the use of one sort of nets furnishes data unlike those yielded by 
the use of another kind. 

It is furthermore necessary that continued experiments with floating 
nets should be made for a considerable time, in a seaworthy boat fur- 
nished with all the required implements, so as definitely to answer the 
question whether the " old " herring have altogether left the coast of 
Bohuslan, (as is maintained by many,) or whether they continue to 
spawn on the outer coast, which would, of course, make fishing in the 
open sea a remunerative occupation. 

1 Professor Nllsson has drawn attention to the fragmentary condition in which theso 
reports have heen published, (Scandinav. Fauna, IV. p. 501, note 1,) and there is no 
doubt that a new and complete edition of these reports would be of the greatest im- 
portance to all who wish to study this subject. 



My time during the coming year might be most advantageously em- 
ployed in correcting and completing the information thus far gathered- 
and in extending my observations to the herring and small-herring fish- 
eries of the South Baltic, the Kattegat, and Southern Norway ; although 
it would certainly be a great advantage if, before any fishing-experi- 
ments were made, the observations which are independent of the fish- 
eries were more advanced than they now are or can be. Nevertheless, 
these experiments ought not to be delayed too long, even if in the begin- 
ning they must be made on a less extensive scale and in a shorter time. 

I dare not renew the request which I made last year that I might 
receive scientific assistance for the carrying-on of these investigations, 
as long as the members of the committee do not express a desire to have 
these investigations made on a larger scale, and with greater dispatch 
than heretofore. But as the apparatus for carrying on these investiga- 
tions, and which I furnished from my own means, has proved entirely 
insufficient, 1 and as the sums which were at my disposal have been ex- 
pended in buying the necessary books, I feel justified, from my experi- 
ence of last year, in making a request for the following sums, both for 
buying apparatus and for meeting other expenses incurred during the 
course of these investigations : 

1. For glass vessels and alcohol , .. . . $224 

2. For scientific apparatus 84 

3. For buying and hiring nets and paying the fishermen, suppos- 

ing that these observations can begin next year 420 

4. For paying assistants, who are to take notes on the fisheries 

in the most important fishing-stations 392 

Total 1, 120 


Tjorn, June 4, 1874. 

^he want of suitable vessels for keeping the herring of different seasons, location, 
ages, and sizes separate has been particularly felt. 



Introduction 123 

I. Of the Different Species of Herring and Small Herring 125 

II. Of the Propagation and Growth of the Herring and Small Herring 143 

III. Of the Herring's Mode of Life, its Migrations and their Dependence on Me- 

teorologic and Hydrographic Conditions 147 

IV. Of the Herring-Fisheries, their Time and Place 150 

V. Of the Small-Herring Fisheries, their Time and Place 152 

VI. Of the Implements used in the Herring-Fisheries, the Manner in which they 

are used, and other matters pertaining thereto 154 

VII. Of the Scientific Researches and Experiments, and the Practical Fishing- 
Experiments necessary for continuing these investigations and bringing 

them to a satisfactory end 165 

VIII. Of the Immediate Continuation of these Experiments and the Sums re- 
quired for this purpose 107 


By Lieut. P. de Bkoca 

One of the most frequently observed fish in the markets of the seaboard 
towns of the United States is the halibut, (abundant in the northern 
seas,) which the fishermen of Newfoundland consider of little value, in 
consequence of a prejudice cherished by them as absurd as that of the 
English in regard to the skate. The flesh of the halibut possesses every 
quality which can make it desirable to the consumer, being white, firm, 
and delicate. It may, perhaps, lack flavor ; but it makes up for this de- 
ficiency by entering readily into the most varied culinary combinations, 
and, when smoked, it rivals, in my opinion, the best preparations possi- 
ble. Under whatever form it appears, it is so highly appreciated in the 
United States, that it has become the object of an important industry. 
This fishery is generally combined with that of the cod, when it is car- 
ried on along the shores of the open sea. 

The halibut is found in abundance along the coast of New England 
and of the British Possessions, as well as on the banks of Saint George, 
of Sable Island, and of Newfoundland^ The giant representative of 
the family of Plenronectids, it attains such dimensions that among the 
edible fishes of the sea it may be considered as analogous to the ox 
among the animals of the slaughter-house. It is often caught weighing 
a hundred pounds, and in many instances it has been taken weighing 
even more than this. A few years ago one appeared in the market of 
Boston which weighed 400 pounds ; and in 1807 one was caught at New 
Ledge, sixty miles to the southeast of Portland, that weighed over 600 
pounds. It is truly astonishing that fish which contain so great an 
amount of alimentary substance have not long since attracted the atten- 
tion of the French fishermen of Newfoundland or those of Iceland, and 
suggested to them the thought of their great commercial value. 

Duriug the warm season halibut are caught in shallow water, only a 
few miles from the shore ; but as the weather grows colder, they migrate 
toward the banks of the open sea, where they must be followed to be 

*£tude sur L'industrie huitriere des £tats-Unis, [pp. 139-224: — ] Deuxieme partie. 
Apercus divers sur la peche cotiere, [pp. 141-148 :— ] Cbapitre premier P6cbe du FhStan. 

tThe halibut inhabits also all the seas of the north of Europe, and is the object of an 
important fishery, especially among the Icelanders and Norwegians. The English and 
the Dutch consume large quantities. 


captured. A part of those taken on the coast, as well as upon the 
banks of Saint George and of Sable Island, are carried fresh to the mar- 
kets. The methods of preservation used are those generally employed 
in such cases. Those of smaller size are thrown into tanks, while the 
very large ones are placed in the ice-houses of the fishing establishments. 
The most important fishing is done by schooners of from 70 to 120 tons 
burden, owned by the States of Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, 
and Connecticut. They take on board during the summer from 20 to 25 
tons of ice on each expedition. 

In consequence of the great popularity of the halibut with consumers, 
this fishery has become so profitable that, in certain localities where 
mackerel have become scarce, the latter fishery has been almost entirely 
abandoned for the former, since it is much more certain. The harbor 
of New London is a case in poiut. 

Besides the large vessels I have just mentioned, many smaller ones 
are also employed, but these never go beyond fifty miles from port. 

The fishermen off the Grand Bank of Newfoundland, who combine 
halibut fishing with that of the cod, cut the fish into longitudinal strips, 
in order to salt it more easily; and, on their return, deliver it to certain 
establishments, where it is smoked after the manner of salmon. 

During the year 1858, 444,920 pounds of fresh halibut were sold in the 
market of Gloucester, Mass. The total amount brought in by the fish- 
ing-boats of the harbor of New London is now estimated to be about 
3,30G,900 pounds. In 1861, the halibut taken by the fishermen of 
Gloucester was valued at $120,000. From these examples, which might 
be multiplied indefinitely, since the entire coast of New England is 
engaged in this fishery, we may readily estimate the amount of suste- 
nance annually furnished for public use by this single fish. 

It is evident that our Newfoundland fishermen can never briug fresh 
halibut to France, but nothing prevents them from salting it, as the 
Americans do. Notwithstanding their prejudice against it, I have no 
doubt that the flesh of this fish would be received with favor by our 
population, especially as it could be sold to them as low as 7 or 8 cents 
per pound, the ordinary price of it in Boston. 

Americans are surprised at our want of forethought in this matter, 
and one of them said to me, on more than one occasion, that if the 
French government would allow him to fish in the grounds of New- 
foundland, reserved for our nation, he would engage to take only hali- 
but, and to dispose at Saint Peter's of all the cod fish he might capture. 
The French consul at Boston has several times received overtures of 
the same kind. 

The unreasonable prejudice of our fishermen should be overcome by 
the single fact that this want of interest in the fishery is the cause of a 
serious loss in the supply of articles of food. Besides, it is not to be 
supposed that a fish which is used by the wealthier classes of a country 
as rich as the United States is in every kind of product, is essentially 


unpalatable, and that oar countrymen could not become accustomed to 
the taste of it. For my part, I would find it difficult to determine 
which I preferred, salmon or smoked halibut. 

Before my visit to the United States, I was acquainted with the hali- 
but only through the descriptions of naturalists. I did not know that it 
constituted a fishery of such importance. But since I have had the 
opportunity of observing the large amount of food it furnishes to all 
classes of the American people, I consider it great folly on the part of 
our fishermen to neglect such a source of profit and of food. 

The best way of elevating the French fisherman from his condition of 
pecuniary distress is to have him understand that he ought to make his 
arrows out of every kind of wood, and not to disdain, without good rea- 
son, riches which lie at his very door. 

When a nation has, as ours, a large population to nourish, it amounts 
almost to a crime to deprive it of an element of food both economical 
and agreeable. In many cases, too, fishing for halibut would become a 
useful auxiliary to that of the cod, and would increase its value. 

Without dwelling further upon this subject, I think that an attempt, 
at least, should be made to put the question to a practical test, on the 
fishing-grounds of Newfoundland or Iceland. The bait used in catch- 
ing the halibut, whose gluttony is proverbial, is composed of salted fish 
of the herring order, of very little value in America on account of their 
abundance and inferior quality. They are the same as those used for 
catching mackerel, and for manuring fields of Indian corn. A barrel of 
bait, all prepared, sells at the rate of $1 or $1.50. It would be a very 
easy matter to obtain it, and the French cousul at Boston could send 
it to Saint Peter's, if to do so were deemed advisable.* 

Many persons may object, that if this subject were really as import- 
ant as I suppose it to be, it would not have remained so long unnoticed. 
But the truth is too evident to be affected by such reasoning. I do not 
claim the merit of having discovered what might have been proved a 
thousand times better by our consuls, or by any other competent per- 
son ; but I have seen, I have handled, I have tasted, the flesh of the 
halibut, and found it superior to that of very many fish which appear 
in our markets; and, not being able to doubt the evidence of my senses, 
I consider it a duty to publish the fact. 

*It is unnecessary, however, to agitate the question of bait, since that used by the 
Icelandic and Norwegian fishermen could be employed. 

SUMMER OF 1872 # 

The fishing- villages, Snekkersteen and Skotterup, are situated not far 
from the town of Elsinore, on the Danish island of Zealand, where the 
sound is narrowest. The inhabitants are, with few exceptions all fisher- 
men and entirely dependent on the sea for their living. The circum- 
stances under which they are obliged to gain their livelihood are some- 
what peculiar, for, while the location of their villages offers in some 
respects, great advantages for fishing, on the other hand it presents dif- 
ficulties which the greatest energy of the fishermen can scarcely over- 
come. The most important field for their operations is the narrowest 
part of the sound where it widens on both sides like a funnel 5 and they 
have consequently both the advantages and disadvantages of being in 
the very spout of the funnel, where everything that is poured into it 
must pass through. All the schools of fishes pass close by them, but 
the powerful current, which, flowing sometimes this way, and sometimes 
that, according to the wind, while it brings the fish to them, frequently 
drives them just as rapidly away. Hence, here more than in many other 
places the fishermen must understand how to seize the right moment for 
their work. The large number of ships sailing by or riding at anchor t 
proves useful to the fishermen, as they are by this means often enabled 
to sell their fish at a very high price. Yet their nets are often destroyed 
by the ships or entirely carried away by anchors or oars. The peculi- 
arity of the location makes stationary fish migratory, and vice versa. 
The haddock and flounder are thus obliged to migrate, and though their 
migrations do not extend far, they occur all the more frequently j while 
the hornfish and other migratory fish are often compelled to remain in 
those waters much longer than is good for them. Thus many different 
things are to be considered by the fisherman in order that he may not 
come too soon or too late with his nets. The more accurately he can 
calculate the probabilities, and the more completely he is provided with 
suitable nets for catching the numerous kinds of fish that pass the coast, 
the more remunerative will be his labor. 

It has not been possible to exhibit all the implements " in natural 
hence the boats and great casting-nets are only shown in models. 

1. Model of a transport-boat. — The boat of which it is a model was 

*From Nordisk Tidsskrift for Fiskeri. 

t On an average, 21,000 per annum. — [Translator's note.'] 


7 years ago, and has brought millions of genuine Snekkersteen haddock, 
plaice, and eels to Copenhagen. From 5 to 6 such boats are continually- 
plying between Snekkersteen and the capital, and their numbers will 
soon be increased by one or two more. During the winter of 1866-'G7, 
one of these boats made 36 trips, and brought to Copenhagen 10,142 
pounds of eel, 49,055 haddock, and 2,995 plaice, which sold for a total 
sum of 4,264 Danish rigsdalers, (one rigsdaler = about 50 cents, gold.) 

These boats must be good sailers and must be built very solidly, of a 
tonnage of not more than four tons, and their price, completely rigged, 
is about 1,000 Danish rigsdalers. 

2, 3. Models of fishing-boats. — These are models of fishing-boats used by 
the fishermen of Snekkersteen and Skotterup. The two villages possess, 
at present, 122 of these boats, and their number is constantly increasing 
All these boats were formerly built in Sweden and Norway, but now 
they are built in the villages themselves, and are even exported from 
there to Sweden. These boats are constructed for fast sailing, and are 
of all sizes. One of the largest size, built of oak, costs, with sail and 
rigging, 300 Danish rigsdalers; while one of the smallest size, but just 
as fast a. sailer, can be bought for 70 rigsdalers. No family has less 
than two of these boats, while some own as many as six, the use of so 
many different kinds of nets requiring that large number. 

4. Model of a casting-net — This is the largest net used by the fisher- 
men, and the original is from 80 to 200 fathoms long. 

5, 6, 7. Prices of a casting-net. — As such a net must be adapted to the 
place where it is set, and as it must be placed in such a manner that the 
upper edge may reach the surface of the water, while the lower touches 
the bottom, the nets are naturally of different length and depth. The 
cost of such a net is about 700 rigsdalers. It is tarred yearly, and in 
spite of this and the solidity of the work, it scarcely ever lasts longer 
than 4 years, and even then it must frequently be repaired. There are 
in Snekkersteen and Skotterup, 11 such nets, but they are seldom all 
used at the same time. The number of fish caught in these nets varies, 
of course, in different years. Thus, two such nets caught, in the fall of 
1871, 459 J rigsdalers' worth of fish, while two nets caught, in 1861, 1,544$ 
rigsdalers' worth. TThe casting-net can be used only near the land, but 
here all those fish are caught that travel along the coast. The eels 
often manage to slip through the meshes, but for other fish, such as 
herring, mackerel, hornfish, haddock, &c, this net proves a sure trap. 

8. An eel-trap or boiu-net for catching eel. — Notwithstanding the eel's 
nimbleness, it is caught in large numbers in this trap, hundreds of which 
are set, one row alongside of an other, from the shore to an extent of 7 
fathoms. Every fall an immense school of eels passes through the sound 
from the south. From the middle of September till November, the eels 
travel during star-light nights ; when wind and current are favorable, 
but when there is no moon, and the traps are carefully cleaned of all 
sea-weed, the fishermen may calculate on a rich booty. Great care is 


required, however, for tbe eel is very sly, and a few sea- weeds or a little 
white stone at the entrance of the trap is sufficient to drive it away j 
and if only one mesh be broken, or if it be a little larger than the others, 
we may be sure that the eel which has been caught will find the weak 
place, and tail foremost, work his way out. Three kinds of eel pass 
through the sound, and, strange to say, of two of these not one can ever 
be seen by day at the bottom of the sea, while the third is occasionally 
seen among the seaweeds. 

9. Apparatus for Jiolding the eel-trap, (bow-net. J — The eel-trap or bow- 
net is an old invention, and is known and used throughout the greater 
part of Europe. But, so far as we are aware, it is nowhere else placed as 
it is here, owing, of course, to the peculiar locality. While, in many other 
places, a pole is fixed at the bottom, to which the trap is fastened, they 
have on the coast of the sound a special apparatus for this purpose 
called " vager," which is laid before the traps are put in position, and 
which remains at the bottom of the sea when they are taken out to be 
dried. This apparatus is not in the way of ships, as a pole might be ; is 
strong enough to resist any current ; and enables the fishermen easily to 
take the trap out and again place it in its exact position. 

10. An eel-trap on its "vager," as placed at the bottom of ths sea. — This 
exceedingly practical arrangement dates from a very ancient period, 
perhaps a thousand years back, as is proveu by the technical terms 
applied to its different parts, Danish words entirely out of use now, but 
common at that distant period. Snekkersteen owns 680, and Skotterup 
240 of these bow-nets. Like the casting-nets, they are never all used at 
the same time, about one-fourth being kept as a reserve. Such a bow-net 
complete costs from 17 to 20 rigsdalers, and lasts from 4 to 6 years. 
They are made either of flax or of cotton, and their manufacture is a 
favorite employment of the fisher-families during the long winter even- 
ings. The places where these bow-nets are set are sold by the govern- 
ment to the fishermen at a high price. The profits, of course, vary very 
much. A fisherman, who kept an exact account, says, that in 1SG1, he 
caught 352 rigsdalers' work of eels in 24 bow-nets ; in 1862, 216 rigs- 
dalers' worth in 30 nets ; and in 1871, 197 rigsdalers' worth in 19 nets. 

11. Bow-net for catching shrimps. — The location is not favorable for 
shrimps, and they are but rarely caught here as an article of food; they 
chiefly serve as a bait for the haddock. 

12. " TJllccn," a sort of net for catching shrimps. — This is dragged after 
the boat, in order to catch the shrimps, which are so deep in the water 
among the sea-weeds that the fisherman cannot wade in and catch them 
with — 

13. The "hoven," an implement which he pushes before him. To this 
branch of fishing belong also — 

14 and 15, two different kinds of nets or il hoven"for catching shrimps. — 
In winter the shrimps go into deeper water, (from 3 to 4 fathoms,) and 
live among the masses of sea- weeds torn off by the currents and the 


storms. A sort of hook is thrown out, by means of which large quanti- 
ties of these sea-weeds are brought up, and the shrimps are shaken out 
of the net into — 

1G. A little fish-trunk or cauf, (the shrimp-box,) where they are kept 
alive till used for bait. 

17. A pole called "stampe" is used for stirring up the bottom of the 
sea in order to bring out the sand- worms which are also used for bait ; 
these are then caught with a sort of comb or catcher — 

18. Called, in Danish, " krillen," the curl. 

19. Trap for catching snails, also used for bait. 

20. Eerring-catcher, for catching herring for bait. 

One may see, on any winter morning, numerous boats, each manned 
by one or two fishermen and provided with all the different kinds of 
bait, leave the two villages for catching haddock. The fish, when 
caught, are thrown into a tub filled with water, which must be con- 
stantly renewed, or into a sack-like net hanging outside the boat, for it 
is of the greatest importance to keep the fish alive. In its endeavors 
to swallow the bait, the hook easily pierces the inner part of the gullet 
and produces a fatal wound. In order to prevent this, the hook is fur- 
nished with a piece of tin soldered to it, often in the shape of a little 
fish. This makes it heavy, and the fish can scarcely get it further down 
than the gristly parts of the mouth. 

The fishermen encounter more difficulties in striving to keep the fish 
alive than in catching them. During severe winters, when the sound is 
covered with ice, the Danish fishermen do not put on skates as the 
Swedes do, but merely wooden shoes with small spikes in the soles to 
prevent slipping. Thus shod they start out dragging behind them a 
sledge furnished with the fishing-implements, their temporary house, 
and its furniture. The house consists merely of a large sail and some 
poles, and to put this up is the fisherman's first work. He makes him- 
self as comfortable in this tent as possible. He cuts two holes in the 
ice, one for his fishing-line and one for the sack into which the fish are 
to be put. The sledge serves as his chair, the basket containing his 
food and the tub containing the bait being so placed that he can reach 
them without moving from his seat. Thus he sits quietly for hours, and 
returns home in the evening drawing the sledge, whose load is uow 
increased by the tub full of water containing the fish. 

21. A fishing line with the so-called u tin-fish''' 1 attached. 

22. A line for catching whiting. 

23. A line for catching mackerel. 

It is interesting to watch from the terrace of the ancient castle of 
Kronborg, commanding a magnificent view of the sound, the catching, 
in the spring, of hornfish, which then pass through the sound in large 
numbers on their way to the Baltic. Two boats always go together, 
each manned by four men, and a large net stretched out between the 
boats. Everything, apparently, is quiet; most of the fishermen seem to 



be asleep with the exception of the two standing on a board stretched 
across the boat to keep a lookout. Everything, however, is prepared; 
the oars are in their places, and the stones are prepared, which are 
thrown into the water for the purpose of chasing the fish into the net. 
The two men stand on the board motionless as statues, straining their 
eyes to see in the distance the faint and indistinct shadow appearing 
on the surface of the sea, occasioned by the approach of a school of fish. 
For hours they may be observed standing thus, unmindful of wind and 
weather. Suddenly one of the men raises his arm, and immediately, 
but silently, every man is at his post. He hurls a stone a great dis- 
tance, then another, constantly nearer in order to drive the school 
toward the net. Now the fish are inside the bay forformed by 
the net "KowP is the order given, and the oars dip into the water. 
The former silence is now changed to a scene so wild and picturesque 
that one would scarcely believe that all this commotion is only produced 
by some hornfish. All are on the alert, and every order given by the 
commander is executed with, the greatest swiftness and precision. 
When the boats have approached each other, and the fish are conse- 
quently entirely surrounded, but by no means caught as yet, the net is 
carefully drawn together, so that the inner space becomes smaller and 
smaller. The fish now try to slip out beneath the boats, but the fisher- 
men are at their post, and by shouting and splashing they chase the 
frightened fish back. After such unsuccessful attempts to escape, the 
whole school frequently turns the other way, pushing with all their might 
against the net. This is the moment for which the commander has been 
eagerly waiting. " Draw together !" he shouts, and with a desperate 
pull the net is entirely closed, heavy with the splashing fish, and is soon 
drawn up into the boats. 

There is, of course, the greatest difference in the number of fish con- 
tained in different schools. Sometimes there are only a few, and, at 
other times, one school will more than fill two boats. In this latter case 
the contest becomes more animated, and to a person who sees it for the 
first time it looks like a desperate combat between the crews of the 
different boats, never failing to attract a large number of spectators. 
The most animated spectacle is presented when the fishermen make 
the so called " Hage-stretch," i. e., when they are forced by the current 
past the promontory called " Hage," in order to catch the fish which 
are just being driven back from the south. The boats shoot through 
the foaming- waves with fearful rapidity, and it requires a great amount 
of skill, strength, and courage to obtain a favorable result. One little 
mistake, an order given or executed too soon or too late, is sufficient to 
frustrate the whole scheme. To make this stretch is therefore consid- 
ered the crucial test for all fishermen on the coast, and unless one has 
accomplished this feat he is not esteemed very highly by his comrades. 
Affairs become still more complicated when there are two schools com- 
ing on at the same time, for if one turns to the right, the other is sure 
12 F 


to turn to the left, and it requires the utmost attention of the fishermen 
to make sure of either. 

24. A net for catching hornfish. — It costs, when new, from GO to 80 
rigsdalers, and can be used for five or six years if kept in careful re- 

25. A model of the preceding net, showing in what manner it is placed 
in the water. 

Toward fall the hornfish returns from the Baltic and travels through 
the sound toward the North Sea. They can then no longer be caught 
in the same place and in the same manner as described above, for they 
are spread at this season of the year over the whole sound. The whole 
coast of Zealand, south of Kronborg, is now closely packed with large 
nets, and the fish are not chased by men alone, for a large number of 
porpoises are all day long busy in securing' their share of the booty. 
These porpoises appear in August, and chase the hornfish with the 
greatest zeal. Th^y are not at all shy, and they pursue the fish close up 
to the boat, so that they can easily be .caught. Their flesh, however, 
cannot be eaten, but they prove useful, inasmuch as they actually assist 
the fishermen in the chase for the fish. Special nets, called in Danish 
" nedgarn," are used for this kind of fishing. 

26. One of the above-mentioned nets, ( u nedgarns.") — At night the fish 
will enter this net very readily, but by day they are very careful to avoid 
it, and now comes the porpoise in its useful capacity of hound. But 
for these animals the fish would remain at the bottom of the sea below 
the nets. The fishermau rows toward the place where the porpoises are 
seen and where the hornfish leap out of the water. Here he casts his 
net and lies in ambush like a spider. Suddenly a rushing sound is 
heard j it is a school of hornfish jumping toward the net on the surface 
of the water. Behind them is the porpoise chasing them, now shooting 
along under the surface with incredible swiftness,- now leaping out of 
the water, dnd not infrequently casting up some fish or holding one in 
its mouth. Sometimes it turns a somersault, but, for the most part, its 
large body falls straight back into the sea, splashing the water in all 
directions. The school of fish turns directly into the net, and only those 
that leap over it manage to escape and the fisherman gathers the fish 
caught in the net and makes it ready to receive another school. When 
the weather is favorable and the porpoises are lively, this chase is very 
amusing. Porpoises, like trained dogs, never touch a fish that is caught 
in the meshes, and with the most admirable dexterity they avoid tear- 
ing the net in their bold leaps. The porpoise is often seen swimming 
patiently alongside of the net waiting for a fish to fall off; but should 
it be ever so hungry it would never think of plucking off one by itself. 
It is therefore considered as a friend by the fishermen, and none of them 
would ever venture to injure one of these animals. 

27 and 28. Nets for catching herring. — These nets are of different 
depth, but all equally long. They are twice as long as the common nets, 


and can be divided into two parts. Snekkersteen owns 140 such nets, 
and Skotterup 40. They cost from 16 to 20 rigsdalers each. A horn- 
fish-net costs from 12 to 16 rigsdalers, and the two fishing villages own 
about 50 of them. Of mackerel-nets Snekkersteen own 130 and Skot- 
terup 54, the price of these being from 10 to 16 rigsdalers each. 

29 and30. Mackerel Nets.— The so-called "small nets" play an important 
part in the fishery on this coast, and they are consequently manufactured 
of many different sizes to suit all circumstances. They are twice the 
usual length, and can be separated into two parts. While the poorer 
fishermen do not possess any casting-nets or bow-nets, there is not one 
of them who does not own several " small nets." They are used all the 
year round for haddock, flounders, turbots, dabs, &c. Salmon or stur- 
geon are sometimes caught in them, and occasionally a lobster or crab 
finds his way into them j perhaps a mackerel, and even wild ducks ; and 
more rarely yet a porpoise, which becomes strangled in the meshes from 
want of air. 

31 to 41. "Small-nets" of different sizes. — These cost about 8 rigsdalers 
each. Snekkersteen owns about a thousand of them, and Skotterup 
two hundred and fifty. 

During the summer the fishermen cast their nets for plaice in the 
neighborhood of the island of Hveen, (about the middle of the sound.) 
The fish caught there are of a very superior quality, and often very large. 
Some have been caught weighing 10J Danish pounds, (1 Danish pound 
is equal to 1.101 pounds avoirdupois ;) and fish weighing from 4 to 6 
pounds are frequently caught. Turbots are also often taken here, the 
largest, as far as known, weighing 30 Danish pounds. These fish are 
sold almost exclusively in the Elsinore market or to the ships lying at 
anchor there. The fisherman rises very early in summer-time, mostly 
between 1 and 2 o'clock, a. m. He first observes the weather, and if it 
be favorable he hurriedly dresses and hastens down to his boat, for the 
fish must be in the Elsinore market as early as 6 o'clock. He is soon 
in his boat, and speeds swiftly toward the place where the nets have 
been cast the previous day. While one of the fishermen plies both oars, 
the other draws in the nets. Others are cast out immediately, and, row- 
ing rapidly, the boat soon approaches the coast again. There his wife 
and children meet him, help him to draw the net on land, and to take 
out the fish and sort them. In a few minutes they are packed on a 
wheelbarrow and one of the fisherman's children or his wife wheels them 
to the market, and at 7 o'clock a. m., not a fish is to be had. 

As soon as the nets are dry they are mended, stretched out on poles, 
aud loaded down with stones, to prevent the wind from carrying them 
away, so as .to be ready for the next day's work. All this keeps the 
fisherman and his family busy during the day. Every now and then 
the nets are boiled in lye or tree-bark, with an addition of soda or pot- 

42. The so-called " Icvistelcjveppe," a sort of switch or broom, is a very 


practical implement for freeing the nets of rubbish, which they invaria- 
bly bring up with them from the water. It requires some skill and 
practice to use this tool, but it cleans the nets much better than any 
other used for that purpose. Strange enough, this useful implement 
is scarcely known outside of Snekkersteen and Skotterup. 

43. A net for catching porpoises. — This is but seldom used, and there is 
only one such in the two fishing villages. Most fishes of the flounder 
kind are caught in " small nets," but the halibut proves too large for 
these. This fish is therefore caught with special halibut-hooks, (called 
" bagger" in Danish,) or with lines. All along the sound, nearer the 
Swedish than the Danish coast, there is found a very considerable de- 
pression of the bottom of the sea. From Helingsborg, the Swedish town 
opposite Elsinore, the fishermen call this great deep " Skraepperne? 
This seems to be the favorite resort of the halibut. In summer one may 
also find there large haddocks and skates. The fishing in these waters 
pays very well, and most of the fish caught here are brought to the Co- 
penhagen market. 

44. A number of halibut-hooJcs. 

45. A halibut-line. 

46. Different specimens of haddock-catchers, (Danish, " torskepilk.") — In 
fishing in the " Skraepperne" the fishermen are often obliged to make 
use of this instrument for want of bait, but it is not a favorite with 

47. A flounder-net, ready to be cast out, or, as the Danish technical 
term has it, to be " stoned." By holding the split peg with one hand, 
and throwing out the stones with the other, the net is laid without much 
trouble, and, sinking to the bottom, places itself in position. 

48. A buoy, a so-called herring-buoy. 

49. A grapple, or anchor. 

50. A claw. — These are of many different sizes, and are sometimes 
used as anchors, but more frequently to search the bottom of the sea 
for nets and other objects that have been lost. 

51. A fisher-buoy. — In the sound, where the shipping, the current, and 
large masses of seaweeds all prove injurious to the buoys, this kind, 
simple as it looks, has proved the most effectual in diminishing all these 
causes of injury. 

52. A net-trough. 

53. A hundred claws, " baggers," ready for being cast out. 

54. A hundred cleft claws, hung up for drying. Of these the two fish- 
ing villages possess an endless number. 

55. An eel-iron. — A sort of spear for spearing eel, which, however, is 
but seldom used. 

56. 57, and 58. Different kinds of caufs. 

59. Tools for manufacturing nets. 

60. Apparatus for weighing eels. 

61. A catcher. 


Nearly all these implements are made by the fishermen themselves. 
The women spin and the men bind them ; small children even assisting 
in the work. 

The amount of material, however, is so large, and requires so much 
repairing, that the fishermen and their families cannot do all the work 
alone, so that there is enough work left for the poor and old folks of 
the villages. The considerable expense required for the material and 
its repairing, consumes, of course, a large portion of the fishermen's 
annual income, so that they can not save much money. Still they suffer 
no want, and are enabled to keep up with the age, being decidedly bet- 
ter housed, fed, and clothed, than their ancestors. 

Local influences have tended to make the fishermen of Snekkersteen 
and Skotterup better educated than fishermen generally are. Living 
close by the sound, the great European highway, they have learned 
much from the many foreigners of all nations, with whom they come in 
constant contact. They are enlightened and liberal in their views and 
possessed of a strong feeling of independence. 

As far back as the year 1745 they established among themselves a 
society for the relief of the sick and the burial of the dead. It is inter- 
esting to see from the old account-books of this society, that the major- 
ity of the members, who were only simple fishermen, could write and 
cipher, some of them even very well, and this at a time when such 
learning was not often found among the poorer classes. 

Much could be done to increase the value of the fisheries of Snek- 
kersteen and Skotterup, both in the way of new methods and more 
modern implements. But what is particularly wanted is a good harbor. 
Such a harbor would cost from 6,000 to 8,000 rigsdalers. The ministry 
of the interior has appropriated 1,000 rigsdalers for this undertaking, 
the district council, 800 ; and many private individuals have made con- 
tributions. The work was begun last spring, and there is every pros- 
pect that these two flourishing villages will soon possess an excellent 
boat-harbor, and have it free of debt. 






I. Preparation of common Baltic herring for consumption in Sweden and in the Ger- 
man ports on the Baltic. 

II. Preparation of extra-fine herring for home consumption. 

III. Preparation of spiced herring, (" Kryddsill.") 

la the sea which surrounds the Scandinavian peninsula, several kinds 
of herring are found differing in size aud fatness. These are caught on 
certain parts of the coast, and afterward brought into the market 
under different names and prepared in various ways. Throughout the 
whole of Sweden, there are found in the market Norwegian herring, 
Graben herring, Ludd herring, fat herring, Goteborg or Bohuslau her- 
ring, Kulla herring, anchovies, small-herring, spiced herring, &c. All 
these articles of trade are prepared from two kinds of fish, viz, the her- 
ring properly so-called, (Clupea harengus, L.,) which in the Baltic is 
named u stromming," and the sprat or small-herring, (Clupea sprattus, L.) 
The former, both in its natural state and as an article of trade, is found 
in much larger quantities than the latter, which is caught only in com- 
paratively small quantities, and prepared mostly as anchovies. As the 
strommiug is nothing but a variety of the common herring, as will be 
shown in the course of this article, the term " herring," or " common her- 
ring," is used both for the herring of the Western Sea, (Atlantic and 
Kattegat,) and the herring of the Baltic, i. e., the strommiug. The sprat 
is at first sight distinguished from the herring by having a smaller 
head and the lower fins placed more toward the front of the body. Its 
belly is, moreover, sharper and furnished with serrated scales, which are 
not found in the common herring. 

The common herring, which on certain parts of the coast is eaten so 
extensively, has its proper home in the North Sea and the Atlantic, bub 
is also found in the seas connected with them — the Kattegat and the 
Baltic. Like other animals and fish, the common herring has un- 
dergone, in course of time, in the different parts of the sea aud bays 
where it lives, various changes as to size, fatness, &c, and which are 

* Nagra ord om Sillfiske saint om Sillens eller Strommigens riitta beredning till han- 
del svara : in Tidsskrift for Fiskeri. Udgivet af H. V. Fiedler, og Arthur Feddersen. 
6to Aargaug. (Kjobenhavn. Jacob Erslevs Boghaudel. 1871.) pp. 63 — bO. 


cbiefly to be accounted for by the difference of food in the Atlantic, 
the Kattegat, and the Baltic, differing even in different parts of the 
Atlantic and the Baltic. We find, therefore, that every part of the sea, 
and even different bays, have, so to speak, their own peculiar kind of 
herring, which certainly do not belong to a different family, but which, 
nevertheless, can easily be distinguished as belonging to a different 
kind, by certain peculiarities due to the locality. Thus, there is found, 
e. #., at certain seasons of the year, in some bays of the Baltic, a larger 
kind of herring, which can easily be distinguished from that which lives 
and spawns on the outer portion of the coast; and the herring found' on 
the coast of Bohuslan, (the west coast of Sweden,) and in the bay of 
Christiania, differ greatly in size from those of the west coast of Nor- 
way, &c, &c. While this circumstance has, to a certain extent, given 
rise to the different ways of preparing and naming the herring as an 
article of trade, it affords the means of forming conclusions as to the 
herring's manner of living, and also as to the improvement of the her- 
ring fisheries in the future. Many a fisherman, even in our days, be- 
lieves what formerly, before science shed light upon the subject, was a 
common opinion, that the herring only accidentally came from remote 
portions of the sea to the coast where it is found, and therefore thinks he 
acts wisely in making use of this accident for catching as many as pos- 
sible ; or, in other words, to fish with implements however destructive 
to the fish. Since experience, however, has shown that one can never 
catch Norwegian herring on the Bohuslan coast, Kulla or malmo herring 
on the Bleking coast, (the south coast of Sweden,) and Gottlam herring 
near Ostgota, &c, &c. ; and since the discovery has been made of the 
time and place where the herring spawns, and the mode and place of liv- 
ing of the tender young, it will become evident that the herring, like the 
salmon and other kinds of fish and animals, has certain distiuct lim- 
its to its migrations and certain definite places which it frequents in 
larger numbers, for the purpose of spawning. In order to perpetuate 
good herring-fisheries on the coasts with some reasonable hope of suc- 
cess, fishing must be conducted in such a manner that only a portion of 
the tribe which has its spawning-place in a certain bay be caught, and 
that the young deposited on the coast or at the bottom of the sea be 

In several places on the Baltic and the Atlantic, people have suffered 
severely for their recklessness in conducting the herring-fishery, and 
especially with regard to the preservation of the young. Thus, obser- 
vations made during several years have shown that the dying out of 
the fish has in no small degree contributed to the almost total decline 
of the great herring fisheries in Bohuslan, which, I am sorry to say, have 
not yet been revived, chiefly because, as soon as some younger herring 
appear, they are caught with narrow-meshed nets. For many years the 
herring were accustomed to approach Bredsund, in Norway, but ceased 
to appear as soon as people began to use nets. To take a nearer exam- 


pie: not long ago the herring went into Braviken (a bay on the eastern 
coast of Sweden) as far as the mouth of the Motala Biver, and nets were 
placed near Lossingsskar and Botilsbast, where considerable quantities 
of fish were often caught. The fishermen in the village of Quillinge 
then used the same large nets which are still employed by the inhab- 
itants of Quarse, (both villages on the east coast of Sweden.) But by a 
reckless use of the net during spawning-time, the whole tribe of herring 
has been caught ; the herring has ceased to appear there, and the fish- 
ermen draw but empty nets. In many other inlets on the Baltic the 
herring has entirely disappeared since excessive net-fisbing has been 

With this trustworthy experience as a guide, it will be evident to 
every one how important it is, if the very existence of the fisheries is 
not to be destroyed, to follow certain rules based on the nature and 
habits of the fish. 

To enable the fisherman himself to decide, in cases of necessity, what 
ought to be done for the improvement of the herring-fisheries, (beside 
those regulations which possibly may be fixed by law,) some further 
information must be given regarding the herring's nature and mode of 

The herring is a gregarious fish, mostly found in large schools, espe- 
cially at the time when he approaches the coast, which he does regularly 
at certain seasons of the year, partly for the purpose of spawning and 
partly to seek food, or to "bathe" in calmer waters before and after 

Duriug winter the herring is found in the deep sea outside the coast, 
where he has spawning-places; but even during this period he visits 
the deeper gulfs, and thus keeps moving as during summer. This is 
proved by the fact that it can be caught in the Baltic during winter with 
nets laid under the ice at* a depth varying between 5 and 24 fathoms, 
and even with seines laid in the fjords and bays at different depths. 
During its migrations to and from the coasts, as well as during its stay 
in the depths of the open sea, the herring keeps alternately near the 
surface of the water and at the bottom. These changes, it is thought, 
are occasioned by the temperature of the water, by the different cur- 
rents, and by other like circumstances. Our experience in this respect 
is as yet too limited to deduce safe conclusions as to the depth at which 
the herring may be found at the different seasons of the year. Tne best 
plan for the fishermen, therefore, is to ascertain this by experimenting 
with nets at various depths. 

The spawning-time of the herring occurs at different seasons in the 
sea where this kind of fish is found. Even the different species of her- 
ring, living in the same sea, have different spawning-times; and of the 
same species some spawn earlier and some later in the season ; this lat- 
ter circumstance being probably occasioned by difference of age, by the 
slower or quicker development of some fish, <&c. 


In the Baltic, the herring spawns partly in the spring and partly in 
the summer, and is therefore called spring-herriug and summer-herring. 
In the southern portion of the Baltic, the herring continues to spawn till 
about the middle of October, while in the northern portion the spawning 
season closes in August. The spawniug occurs partly outside the coast 
on elevations of from three to fifteen fathoms from the bottom of the sea, 
and partly in the fjords (gulfs) nearer to the main land, particularly in 
places where the bottom of the sea is thickly covered with sea-weeds. 
The spawning process goes on very rapidly, as the school only keeps to- 
gether at the bottom probably from five to six hours. The spawn is 
dropped on sea-weeds, stones, sand, and similar objects, where it remains. 
The development of the spawn takes a longer or shorter time, according 
to the temperature of the water. 

In May, when the water is cool, it takes from fourteen to eighteen 
days for the spawn to develop, while in July and August, when the 
water in the spawning places usually has a temperature of from 14° to 
15°, Eeaumur, it requires only from six to eight days. The young her- 
ring, which is smaller and more transparent than the young of most 
other fish, (and on this account difficult to distinguish,) is a little more 
than one-quarter of an inch long, and has, till about eight days after the 
development, a residue of the yolk remainiug obliquely across the belly, 
which, at first, greatly impedes its movements. Only .when the young 
herring has lost this so-called * belly -bladder," does it begin to swim 
around, to collect in schools, and seek food. It is difficult to determine 
the growth and size of the young herring until it reaches a certain age, 
especially as all the young ones have not the same ability to gather food, 
on which circumstance the development of course depends. 

Attempts have been made to raise young herring by having them 
inclosed in small basins, but they have never lived longer than about five 
weeks, at which time their length was about one-half of a decimal inch. 
During the whole first year of its existence, the young herring is found 
in its spawning place both outside the coast and inside the fjords. Young 
herring about one common inch in length may be supposed to be about 
two months old. At the age of three months, their length is about an 
inch and a half. All the fins are fully developed, and the whole shape of 
the body resembles that of the mature herring, so that it can easily be 
recognized as the young of this fish, which before that time is somewhat 
difficult. From comparisons made with the young herring found in the 
spawning-places, it is safe to assume that those of about 3 iuches in 
length found in the spawning-places in spring are of the preceding 
year's spawning, and, therefore, about one year old. Young herring from 
5 to G inches in length, which are often caught in nets, are probably 
only two years old. In fish of this size the roe and the milk begin to be 
tolerably developed, and when the fish has reached the length of 8 inches 
and the age of about three years, it is capable of spawning. 

The food of the young, as well as the grown herring, consists chiefly 


of small crustaceous animals, invisible to the naked eye, which are found 
in enormous quantities in the sea, both in shallow and deep waters. In 
passing sea-water through a straining-cloth, great numbers of these 
small animals will be found. Their quantity, however, varies at differ- 
ent seasons, during a change of temperature, and at different depths. This 
might possibly explain, to some extent, the appearance of herring at dif- 
ferent depths. In summer these crustaceous animals are found nearer 
the surface of the water, and at this season the herring is also found to 
swim comparatively higher. Like other fish, the herring abstains from 
food some time before and after spawning, and its stomach is therefore 
generally found to be empty at this time. But after spawning it begins 
to eat again, and gradually regains the strength and fatness which it 
seems to lose during that process. This explains the fact that at some 
seasons of the year the herring is leaner than at others. 

About two months before spawning, the herring may generally bo 
considered the fattest and best. This fatness continues until spawning 
is over, when the fish becomes lean and thin, and not fit to be caught. 
The herring, after spawning, usually migrates to the deep sea to seek 
food, and does not return till it has again gaiued in flesh and strength. 
That the herring, like other kinds of fish, as soon as the spawning-time 
approaches, again seeks the spot where it was born, is proved by the 
circumstance, mentioned above, that certain easily recognizable tribes 
or kinds of herring spawn every year at a certain time and at the same 
place. That during one year it appears in larger numbers in one place 
than during another, has doubtless its cause in the change of tempera- 
ture, currents of the sea, and similar influences, which may even occa- 
sion the entire absence of the herring from certain bays in some years. 
Cold and inclement weather, during spawning-time, often destroys almost 
the whole breed of one year, so that, naturally, for some years to come, 
the kiud of herring, in places where this has happened, will be very 
poor. These, and other causes on which the development of herring 
is dependent, are, however, as yet so little understood that nothing 
definite can be said about them. But, on the other hand, it is well 
known that man himself can destroy the herring in a bay of the sea 
by catching the whole tribe, both old and young, in large nets, thereby 
also destroying the spawning-places. 

It has already been stated that certain kinds of herring, particularly 
the larger ones, spawn nearer the land, on a bottom overgrown with 
sea-weeds. If this bottom is made unfit for spawning, by taking up or 
destroying the sea-weeds, either by nets or in any other way, the her- 
ring is, of course, obliged to seek other and more suitable places, and, 
consequently, deserts those inlets where formerly it came regularly. 

By experience gained in, Bohuslan and other places it is proved that 
the herring is extremely sensitive in this respect, and deserts old spawn- 
ing-places entirely if their character is changed. 

Every one, therefore, who desires to keep his herring-fishery in good 


condition, ought to be very careful not to change the nature of the 
spawning-places by disturbing the vegetation, or by casting refuse and 
other matter into the water. 

From wbat has been said concerning the herring's nature and mode 
of living, it will be evident that, in order not to risk its annihilation, 
destroy the young, and disturb the spawning places, it is best not to 
catch the fish with nets during the spawning season, but to use the net 
only during those portions of autumn and winter when the herring seeks 
the deep water in the inlets ; while one can catch herring in seines with- 
out danger at every season of the year. This mode of fishing is, in the 
long run, the most advantageous in every respect. 

If the herring- fishery, however, is really to become remunerative, it 
is necessary not only to find a good market ior the fish, but also to pre- 
pare tbe fish in the proper manner. 

As it is frequently impossible for fishermen to sell the fish immedi- 
ately on being caught, it is of the utmost importance for him to have a 
knowledge of the best method of preparing it for the trade, particularly 
in our time, when the vast improvements in the means of communica- 
tion permit the acquisition of the necessaries of life from the most re- 
mote localities, so that every one is obliged to strive, by a constantly 
improved preparation of his products, to procure and maintain an ad- 
vantageous market for them. 

In consequence of more rapid communication, the herring of the Baltic 
can be sold with profit not only at home, but also in those distant regions 
to which, in former times, exportation was impossible. The preparation 
of the herring must, of course, vary according to the place where it 
finds its market, as there is a demand for different kinds of herring in 
different localities. The various methods in which the herring is pre- 
pared, so as to secure the best market, are at present the following : 

1. The common salt Baltic herring, to supply the demand at home, 
and in the German ports on the Baltic. 

2. fhe so called "delikatess" or extra-fine herring prepared in the 
Norwegian and Dutch manner for home consumption. 

3. The so-called spiced herring, for home and foreign consumption. 
The choice of any one of these three methods is determined partly by 

the fatness and condition of the fish, partly by the ease or difficulty 
with which buyers are found for one or the other kind, and partly by 
other considerations. The fat herring, which is sometimes caught in 
summer or autumn on certain coasts, is, of course, best suited for the 
finer kinds of trade-herring, i. e., the extra fine herring or the spiced 
herring, while the common herring is best suited for the common salt 
herring, observing, however, in its preparation those rules which are 
indispensable for obtaining a good article. • 

In the preparation of every kind of fish, the most important rule to 
be observed is, to bring the fish, as soon as possible after caught, in 
contact with the salt j and special care must be taken that the fish, be- 


fore it is salted, is not too much exposed to the heat of the sun, for this 
soon spoils it. In summer, therefore, every boat ought to be furnished 
with sufficient tarpaulin to cover the fish while returning home. It is 
also very useful to have in the boat a large tub or vessel with crushed 
ice, in which the fish should be placed immediately after it is caught, as 
this keeps it quite fresh until salt can be applied. Those fish which 
have been brought to market fresh, and exposed for some time to the 
sun, cannot be used for salt fish, since, as a general rule, the fish are 
more or less injured while being transported to the market. Another 
important rule in preparing any kind of fish is to preserve the greatest 
possible cleanliness. Care should be taken not to let fish-refuse or other 
objectionable matter lie around in the salting-houses, or in the tubs or 
vessels used for salting. Old brine, which is full of slime, blood, or other 
little particles, must never be used for salting, as a foul, disagreeable 
taste is apt to be thus imparted to the fish. Another very important 
consideration in the preparation of fish is the quality of the salt used, 
for it is not only necessary to have a loose, strong, and hard salt, which 
is best suited for preserving different kinds of herring, but a prime arti- 
cle must be used. Salt that has suffered from sea-water, or that contains 
impurities, ought never to be used. 


In. the salting of herring, as at present carried on by the fishermen on 
most parts of the coast, two mistakes are frequently made : first, salt- 
ing the fish too much j and secondly, pressing it too hard. It is very 
important to prepare the fish in such a manner as to keep for a long 
time without spoiling. It is likewise important for the merchants to 
secure well-packed barrels. But both these advantages may be gained 
without producing a fish entirely saturated with strong salt, or made 
so thin by pressing as to lose all its natural fat and only taste of salt. 
In many places the fish are pressed so hard into the barrels that they 
form a thick mass, from which the brine soon flows off, leaving the 
fish dry and rancid, and by no means pleasant to the taste. Even 
if the fish are to be sold in one place, a precisely similar mode of pre- 
paring them is by no means to be recommended. And although no 
one can prescribe rules for preparing fish or producing an article which 
will satisfy many different tastes, especially as one buyer cares little for 
the flavor or fatness of the herring, but only for its weight, while with 
another the case is just the reverse, most buyers nowadays endeavor to 
secure a well-flavored article, which is also carefully packed. The mode of 
preparation given below has been tried for a number of years in the 
best salting establishments in Gottland and on the southern coast of 
Sweden, and fish preserved in this manner will never fail to find a ready 

In the preparation of the common herring, St. Yves, (Setubal,) Lis- 


bon, and other strong kinds of salt ought to be used, but Oagliari salt, 
and other looser kinds of English and French salts may also be em- 
ployed, especially if the fish is intended for immediate consumption. 
The salt must be somewhat crushed so that the larger crystals may 
melt in the brine, and the salt thus come into contact with the meat of 
the fish as much as possible. 

As salt herring are mostly exported to distant places, and during 
their transportation in ships are exposed to injury from contact with 
heavy freight piled upon them ; and as, even on railroads and wagons, 
they run the risk of being somewhat roughly handled, they ought to be 
transported oniy in tight and strong barrels, firmly hooped, so that there 
may be no danger of the brine escaping. It may be well to mention here, 
that a leaky barrel of herring is not worth one-fourth the price of a sound 
barrel. As soon as the herring are taken from the net, they ought to be 
thrown into vessels filled with pure and clear brine. In no case ought 
so many herring to be put into a vessel as to cause the upper layers to 
press too heavily on the lower ones. If the number of fish caught is 
very great, a larger number of vessels ought rather to be employed. 
After the herring has thus been brought into immediate contact with 
the salt, it is, after a while, taken out to be cleaned, in which process 
care must be taken to remove the entrails and gills, but not the roe and 
milk. Every fisherman knows how to do this. After the herring has 
been cleaned, it is again placed in another vessel filled with pure brine. 
When all the fish have been cleaned, or while the process is going, on, 
the cleaned herring are taken out of the brine and washed in fresh and 
pure sea-water, and then placed in small baskets with wood-shavings at 
the bottom, so that the water may drain off. The fish are then sprinkled 
with salt in the following manner : They are placed loose in a barrel, 
together with crushed salt, the proportion being 3 gallons (kappa) per 
barrel, (tunna,) of about 4 bushels. In every layer the fish and the salt 
are stirred so as to mix properly. After twenty-four hours, the fish are 
again taken out of the salt and placed in baskets, so that the briue may 
run off. This process is finished in about an hour, and the fish are then 
properly packed and salted in other barrels, arranged in layers, with 
the back downward, and crushed salt placed between every layer, reck- 
oning about 5 gallons to every tunna, (see above.) When the barrel is 
full it is exposed to a slight pressure, so slight that the fish is kept 
under the brine, but not so heavy as to cause the fat and juice to 
exude from the fish into the brine, since this would injure their flavor. 

The barrels are left standing open in this state for some time, (about 
two or three days,) and as the mass of the fish siuks down, new layers 
are placed on the top. When, after some days, the sinking of the fish 
may be considered finished, the barrels are filled up and closed. Every 
fourteenth day, at least, these barrels ought to be gently rolled about 
and turned up and down, so that the brine may penetrate the whole 


mass. Before the fish are to be shipped, the barrels must he examined 
again, and if any further sinking is noticed, the barrels are filled up 
with fish for the last time. 

The brine, which daring the filling of the barrels, flows over, as well 
as that which is obtained during every salting, may be put into those 
vessels in which the fish are placed immediately after being caught, and 
where they are kept during the cleaning process. It is, however, im- 
portant that such old brine be exchanged for new after it has been 
once used and has become filled with impurities. 

To salt fish, as is done in the province of Ostergotland, with 9 gallons 
of salt per tunna, is not advisable, because then the fish is pressed 
too bard and salted too thoroughly. After it has been sprinkled with 
salt all that is required is 25 gallons per tunna, and for this purpose the 
fish ought to be placed immediately in the barrels and not be pressed 
more than is absolutely necessary for the proper filling of them. In the 
province of Norrland it is customary to let the herring lie uncleaned in 
the brine for twenty-four hours ; and, moreover, to use brine which has 
been often used for the same purpose. That this mode is objectionable, 
and that the herring ought to be Cleaned as soon as possible, will be 
evident from what has been said above. 

In Carlskrona, south coast of Sweden, it is customary to use only 1 
gallon of salt per tunna for sprinkling the fish, and then to salt them 
with 7 gallons per tunna. This method cannot be recommended, as 
the fresh fish, if they have absorbed enough of the brine, do not require 
as large a quantity of salt as 7 gallons per tunna. 

The Baltic herring, prepared in the manner explained above, find a 
ready market, not only at home, but also in foreign ports on the Baltic. 
The price paid for herring differs of course in different years, being 
partly regulated by the quality of the fish and partly by the price of 
Norwegian and other foreign herring. In some years, when the herring- 
fishery both in Norway and Sweden has been good, the fishermen can 
scarcely dispose of their fish at home at such a price as to fully remu- 
nerate them. It is, therefore, advantageous to seek a foreign market, 
and prepare the fish accordingly. Germau ports on the Baltic, especially 
Stettin, Stralsund, and some others, afford, at certain seasons, a very 
good market for the common salted herring. The most profitable season 
for selling herring in these places is from midsummer to the beginning 
of September. The fish intended for exportation to Germany are pre 
pared in the above-mentioned manner, but ought to be very carefully 
packed in good sound barrels, not in barrels ("tunna") of the same 
size as in Sweden, but somewhat smaller, such as are used in Bornholm 
and on the German coast. In Stettin, such barrels, if the fish are sound 
and well packed, bring from 13 to 21 riksdalers, (1 riksdaler, silver= 
about $1 currency,) which is a very good price, considering the fact 
that these barrels are much smaller than the Swedish ones. 



It is well-kuown that Sweden annually imports a considerable quan- 
tity of Dutch and Norwegian herring, which are partly sold in barrels, 
( u tunna,") but mostly in smaller vessels (" fjerdingar,"*) for household 
use among the better classes. Experiments have proved that the large 
and fat Baltic herring, which are caught in several places on the Swed- 
ish coast, can very easily be prepared in the same manner as in Holland 
and Norway. In this way an article is produced which, although per- 
haps not in every respect equal to the foreign herring, nevertheless 
resembles it very closely, and therefore finds a ready market at a profit- 
able price at home, and this all the more since the Swedish extra-fine 
herring can be furnished at much less expense than the foreign. 

The term " extra-fine herring w (" delikatess — sill 7 ') implies that it 
is not an article for every-day use. It ought, therefore, to be put up in 
smaller kegs than the common herring, such as the "fjerdingar," (see 
above.) As a matter of course the extra-fine herring must not be salted 
nearly as much as the common salt-herring, because the fine flavor which 
ought to distinguish it would thus- be lost. As a consequence it can- 
not be kept as long as the common herring. In preparing the extra-fine 
herring, looser kinds of salt ought to be used, those that are milder, 
finer, and more easily dissolved, such as Liverpool salt, Liineburg salt, 
Cagliari salt, &c. ; the best on the whole being Liineburg salt. 

Preparation of extra-fine herring after the Norwegian manner. — The 
fresh-caught herring are placed, during the cleaning-process, in pure 
brine. Some, in cleaning the fish, take out only the entrails ; but it is, 
in all cases, best to take out both the entrails and the gills. As soon as 
they are cleaned they are placed in layers in kegs, the back downward. 
Between every layer salt is put, reckoning about six gallons to one 
" tunnaj" salt also being placed on the top of the uppermost layer. As 
the layers gradually sink in the keg, others are put in. After about six 
days, an opening is made with a stick between the mass of herring and 
the side of the keg, into which salt is poured, and the keg then closed. 
Before shipping them, the kegs are all examined again and filled up, if 
necessary, in the same manner as mentioned in the preparation of the 
common salt-herring. If sufficient brine has not formed, a small hole is 
bored in the side of the keg, pure brine is poured in, and the hole closed. 
It is well, too, frequently to roll and turn the kegs. Herring prepared 
in this manner have kept quite good and fresh for six months. 

Preparation of the Baltic herring after the Dutch manner. — Fresh and 
fat Baltic herring are put, immediately on being taken out of the water, 
into a keg in small quantities, and frequently stirred for at least an hour 
with fine-crushed Liineburg salt. Then the fish can be cleaned as de- 
scribed above, or without being cleaned, placed in kegs in layers, with 
fine-crushed Liineburg salt between every layer; reckoning about from 

*1 " f jcrdiug " = 2 pecks. 


1 to 1J gallons of salt to every " fjerding." When a keg is full it is 
closed, but also examined and filled up again, as before mentioned. The 
uncleaned herring, which are called in foreign countries " round-salted 
herring," do not keep near as long as the cleaned herring ; for, of the lat- 
ter kind, I have seen some prepared at the Herta Salting Establishment, 
on the island of Gottland, preserved fresh and good for over a year. 
Baltic herring prepared after the Norwegian or Dutch manner find a 
very ready and profitable market in Stockholm and other Swedish 


The so-called spiced herring is an article found here and there in the 
market, kept like anchovies in small kegs or glass jars. It may be pre- 
pared from any kind of herring, and it is much sought after in some 
places in Sweden, but especially in North Germany. Its preparation, 
however, cannot, as yet, be said to form any important branch of trade, 
and must be considered rather as an experiment by housewives for the 
purpose of introducing a little variety into their meals, especially for 
the lunch-table. As there seems to be some demand for this article, par- 
ticularly for the foreign market, the most approved method of preparing 
it is given below. 

The fresh-caught herring are immediately put into vinegar, with one- 
fourth water, and some salt. After remaining in this mixture for twenty- 
four hours, the herring are taken out and the vinegar drained off. The 
fish are then placed in a keg with a mixture of the following spices, 
reckoning these quantities for every (fourscore) 80 herrings:* 1 "skal- 
pund" fine dry salt, " 1 skalpund" pulverized sugar, 1 "loci" pepper, 1 
"lod" bay-leaves, 1 "lod" saltpeter, £ "lod" sandal, \ u lod" ginger, \ 
"lod" Spanish hops, \ "lod" cloves. 

Others use the following mixture: 1 "skalpund" salt, J "skalpund" 
sugar, 2 " lod" pepper, 2 " lod" allspice, 1 " lod" cloves, 1 " lod " Spanish 

The herring must be left in this mixture for two months before it is 
fit for use. Some put the herring immediately into vinegar, without 
water and salt, from which it is taken, after twelve hours, and treated as 
above described. 

If the spiced herring, after some time, should not have sufficient brine, 
good brine of Liineburg salt is poured over it, by means of which it will 
keep for years. 

* Swedish iveights mentioned. — 1 " skalpund" of 32 " lod," = nearly 1 pound avoirdupois; 
1 "lod" of 4 " quintin," = nearly £ ounce avoirdupois. 

13 F 



In accordance with a proposal made by Mr. G. O. Sars, the " practical 
and scientific observations on the Norwegian sea-fisheries " were, in 
1872, conibiued with the soundings made by the Norwegian navy in the 
sea outside the Jseder stream ; and as this portion of the sea is in 
the immediate neighborhood of the spring-herring district, the " depart- 
ment of the interior" commissioned Mr. Sars — we presume, in accordance 
with his own suggestion — to throw, if possible, some new light on the 
hitherto somewhat obscure question regarding the nature and the mi- 
grations of the herring. Mr. Sars intended to direct his attention par- 
ticularly to the so-called fat-herring or summer -herring, as he always sus- 
pected that its true nature had not been properly understood by other 
naturalists, and particularly by Mr. Axel Boeck. Mr. Sars's report was 
noticed in the " Morgeribladet," and was subsequently printed in full 
in that journal (October 29, 1872f). It called forth some remarks 
by Mr. Axel Boeck in a later number of that journal, (November 5, 
1872,) and a discussion ensued between the two gentlemen, which, in 
the beginning especially, was of a violent character, perhaps to some 
extent excused by the circumstances, but in itself very deplorable. 
It seems, however, that both of them during the subsequent discussion 
(which elicited but little that was new) endeavored to treat the matter 
in a calmer spirit. It is not our intention to judge between the per- 
sons of these two gentlemen, or to revive a discussion which for one of 
them bears the melancholy souvenir that his colleague and opponent — to 
the great sorrow of all Scandinavian naturalists — did not long survive 
it. All we desire in this article is to give a brief review of the data 
which have been gained, by Mr. Sars's observations of the "summer-her- 
ring," respecting the herring whose natural history is still enveloped in 
so much obscurity. Every step toward throwing more light on the sub- 

* " Nye Bidrag til Sildespi)rgsniaalet. Striden mellem Axel Boeck og Ossian Sars au- 
gaaende den norske Sommersild. Sars's seuere Unders^gelser og bans nyo Theori oin 
SildensTrsek :" in Nordisk Tidsskrift for Fiskeri. New series. Aargaug2. Part 2. 1875. 
pp. — , with map. 

t Later it has been printed separately, (1874,) together with the reports of 1870, 1871, 
and 1873. 


ject is of unusual interest; for no one knows to what important discov- 
eries it may lead. We will, therefore, in this place give an extract of 
Mr. Sars's " Keport," and in connection with it review the more impor- 
tant remarks called forth by it on both sides. 

On the 17th July, Mr. Sars began his sojourn in Stavanger, and from 
that place made excursions in the neighboring fjords. In the city 
itself he had an excellent opportunity of examining herring, which 
about this time were brought to market from various places in large 
quantities. He subsequently visited one of the fishing-stations on the 
outer coast, where, during the winter, the so-called spring-herring fisheries 
are carried on, partly for the purpose of obtaining information regard- 
ing those fisheries, partly for the purpose of making personal observa- 
tions. The place he visited was " Hvitingso," an island far out in the 
sea, and an old and well-known spring-herring fishing-place. From 
that point he made excursions in all directions, examining particularly 
the bottom of the ocean in those places where the herring-fisheries are 
carried on. Mr. Sars also collected much information regarding the 
spring-herring fisheries from* conversations with experienced fishermen. 
He reports that at that season enormous numbers of young herring were 
found in the more sheltered sounds and bays, which, on closer exami- 
nation, turned out to be almost exclusively young spring-herring,* 
and, as could be ascertained, of this year's spawning. The fishermen 
know this herring-spawn very well, and call it "Aesja."] They use it 
partly as bait, partly as food in eel-boxes, and take it as often as re- 
quired with fine nets in quiet, grass-grown inlets. In examining the 
t4 Brisling," (Cltupea sprattus,) brought to the Stavanger fish-market 
from various places, it was frequently found mixed with a great number 
of young spring herring. The Hvitingso fishermen testified that dur- 
ing that year the spring-herring was found in unusual quantities ; in 
fact, they did not remember so good a spring-herring year since the old 
extraordinarily rich spring-herring fisheries. Sars concludes from this 
that during the previous winter a large number of spring-herring must 
have remained near the coast and have spawned there ; and that, there- 
fore, the poor spring-fisheries of the previous year canuot have been 
caused by any decrease in the number of herrings, nor by any change 
of route in the migrations of the herrings, but only by the circumstance 
that for some reason or other the great mass of the herrings did not 
come as near the coast as formerly, but spawned farther out at sea. All 
the fishermen agreed that large schools of herring approached the coast 
at the usual time, which could be judged of from the unusual number 
of whales and birds; and for some time there was a prospect that the 

* It seems that the author by this term only wishes to convey the idea that they 
■were the young of the genuine herring, (Clupea harengus,) in contradistinction from the 
" Brisling," (Clupea sprattus,) not that they were the young of that variety of herring 
which is called " spring-herring ; " but as he does not seem to allow that there are several 
varieties of herring on the coast of Norway, it amounts to the same thing. 

t Danish : Acs, i. e. t food. 


fisheries near Hvitingso would be very good; but people waited too 
long, hoping that the herring would come in to the usual fishing-places, 
and the consequence was that they quietly spawned in the outer deep, 
and had already done spawning before attempts were made to take 
them out at sea. That large numbers of herring spawned there is also 
corroborated by the fact that soon after the close of the herring-fisheries 
there were found in the outer deep an unusual number of torsks, whose 
stomachs were full of herring-roe, which must have entirely covered 
the bottom of the sea. There is therefore reason to suppose that 
the usual number of herring have also visited the coast in 1872, and 
have deposited their roe in suitable places. It need not follow, however, 
from the circumstance that the spring-herring in this and partly in the 
preceding year, from some unknown reason, has spawned at a greater 
distance from the coast than usual, that it will always do so, much less 
that it will entirely leave the coast. Mr. Sars thinks that there are no 
sure signs of such a sudden change in the migrations of the herring, 
but that there is good reason to hope that, under more favorable cir- 
cumstances, the herring-fisheries on the west coast of Norway will 
again be carried on in the usual places ; of course, with more or less 
variable results. He was confirmed in this view by his observations of 
the so-called fat-herring, or summer -herring. 

Begarding this fish, the (according to Mr. Sars, erroneous) opinion has 
formerly been prevalent that it was a different variety from the spring- 
herring, or an entirely different species of herring, which was said to go to 
different parts of the west coast of Norway, and not to belong to the 
ocean proper, but to the islands and sounds. It was even said that it 
had a special spawning-season of its own, viz, autumn, while the spring- 
herring spawns in winter or early in spring. We cannot entirely agree 
with Mr. Sars when he says, "if it were really the case that the summer- 
herring spawned at an entirely different season of the year, it would, 
in spite of its great zoological similarity, have to be considered not 
only as a distinct variety, but as a separate species. There certainly 
may be herring which spawn in autumn, and this is particularly the 
case with tbe so-called 'Kulla'* herring, occurring on the Swedish coast 
of the Kattegat, but this different spawning-season is caused by differ- 
ent physical circumstances — by varying conditions of life." u On the 
same coast, therefore, where herring are found which spawn in spring, 
none can (!) occur which spawn in autumn, and vice versa? Natural 
phenomena cannot unfortunately be so easily and with such certainty 
deduced from simple premises; and Boeck did not find it difficult to 
point out certain facts, which cannot be argued away, and which show 
that two races of herring, one spawning in spring and the other spawn- 
ing in autumn, occur on one and the same coast. Thus Munter has 
shown that on the east coast of Iliigen, on a space scarcely extending 
four German miles, there are two varieties of herring — a southern, 
* Kulla, a promontory on the western coast of Sweden. 


spawning in spring, and a northern, spawning in autumn. In connec- 
tion with this we may mention Nilsson's and Ekstrom's report, that in 
the Baltic there are two varieties of small herring, ("Stroniming,") the 
more slender of which spawns in May and the beginning of June, and 
the stouter one in August and the first half of September. On the 
other hand, in the present case, where the Norwegian summer-her- 
ring is spoken of, Sars has given satisfactory proof that in general it 
does not spawn in autumn. Its fat and general good quality are caused 
by its having, as one says, "fat, instead of roe and milt.' 7 The roe and 
milt are there, in the lowest part of the abdominal cavity, covered by 
the fat, but in so undeveloped a condition, that it may be taken for 
granted that they cannot possibly mature as early as autumn. The 
Norwegian fishermen, therefore, do not know the autumn-spawning 
herring. According to their short-sighted view, the summer-herring 
does not spawn at all; and they are led to take this view because it has 
neither roe nor milt, but only fat, quite forgetting that every variety or 
species of fish must be able to propagate itself in order to exist. By 
denying the power of propagation, (which of course is only correct in 
so far as it does not spawn as summer-herring,) they actually deny it 
all independence as a separate variety. When the u summer-herring" 
finally spawns, it has ceased to be a summer-herring, or fat-herring, (the 
distinguishing mark of the latter being that it is filled with fat and not 
with roe or milt,) and has become a spring-herring; in other words, it 
is only the younger herring, not yet Jit .to spawn, in different stages of its 
life, but ends invariably by becoming at last a genuine spring herring. 
The reason why people have been so long blind to this very simple 
state of facts, in Sars's opinion, flows from the erroneous idea that the 
summer-herring goes into the fjords and bays for the same purpose as 
the spring-herring, while, as every one acquainted with the nature of 
the herring knows, in reality it does not go at all for the purpose of 
spawning, but merely to feed. 

If this theory is correct, the summer-herring must occur in different 
forms, corresponding with the different stages of its life; and this is 
actually the case. It is consequently brought into trade under different 
names, which, on the whole, represent as many years or ages. In the 
second year it is called Christiania herring; in the third, middle herring; 
and in the fourth, merchants 1 herring. In its fifth year, it has become a 
genuine spring -her ring* There is no essential difference between these 
varieties except the size and the greater or less development of the sex- 
ual organs ; but in all other points they are alike, even in the subdivis- 
ions of these varieties, viz, small and large Christiania herring, small 
and large middle herring, merchants' herring, &c. It must not be 
imagined that these divisions in all cases agree exactly with the age; for 
all fish do not reach the same size in the same period of time, and the 

* A correction, where, instead of five years, the whole period of this development 
embraces six years, is given below. 


spawning-season of the spring-herring, and the consequent development 
of the young fish, extend over quite a portion of winter and spring. 
Sars, however, supposes that a large number of the " merchants' her- 
ring" (or, in other words, a large portion of the common herring) spawns 
by the end of the fourth year. u It will then be found together with the 
older or genuine spring-herring, and, as in that case it will have com- 
pletely matured roe and milt like this one, no one will, as a general 
rule, think of considering it as former fat-ht^rring, but as young spring- 
herring, (which it is in reality.) It is probable, however, that, ou closer 
examination, (especially when this young herring is found in large num- 
bers without being mixed with the older spring-herring,) some slight 
differences will be found, chiefly caused by its not yet being familiar with 
life far out at sea, to which the older spring-herring have become accus- 
tomed, while it only commences that life now after having done spawning. 
It is likewise possible that the spawning-season of this younger herring 
does not occur exactly at the same time, but somewhat earlier." Sars, 
therefore, supposed that the so-called Blandsild, mixed herring, (whose 
occurrence has been looked upon as a precursor of the disappearance of 
the spring-herring proper, but which he had no opportunity to exam- 
ine,) according to the description given of it, which says that it is fatter 
(and consequently better) than the spring-herring, but somewhat 
smaller and spawns earlier, is not a previously unknown kind of her- 
ring, which has shown itself only during the last few years on the coast 
of Norway, but a summer-herring, in its transition period toward being a 
" Graabensild " (graybone herriug ); in other words, the youngest spring- 
herring, which, during the following year, will return as a genuine Graa- 
bensild. (We shall later return to this subject.) The reason that it has 
been formerly overlooked is that it was mixed with the Graabensild; but 
during the last few years it has not been found so much mixed with it, 
because, as has been said above, the great mass of the old herrings com- 
ing in from the sea have spawned farther out at sea. u Just as the young 
of the torsk spend the first years of their life near the coast, and only 
go out in the open sea at a more advanced age, so do the young of the 
spring-herring spend the first years of their life near the coast, and dur- 
ing summer gather (under the name of fat- herrings) in large schools, to 
feed in the inner fjords and bays." Since the summer-herring fisheries 
on the heights of Stavanger were very productive in 1872, rather more 
so than usual, Mr. Sars thinks there is no reason to fear any diminution 
jn the schools of spring-herrings, or that they should begin to go to 
other coasts ; if this were the case, the summer-herring fisheries must 
have decreased in the same proportion. 

With regard to this, it must be said that nothing of the kind has ever 
been supposed. Boeck himself has shown that if the spring-herring 
fisheries are not successful, the reason is that the spawning herring does 
not, as in other cases, go near the coast, where it could be easily caught, 
but spawns farther out in deep water, where it cannot be caught so well, 


at least not according to the usual method. What causes the herring 
to remain so far from the coast has, up to this date, (1872,) not yet be- 
come known. Mr. Sars could not say either what favorable circum- 
stances should induce the hope that the herring-fisheries on the west 
coast of Norway would again return to the old places, or what unfavor- 
able circumstances kept the majority of the herring during the two pre- 
ceding years away from the fishing-places. (We shall again return to 
this question.) Mr. Boeck furthermore proves, what need not be men- 
tioned here, as it has been spoken of in the " Tidsslzriftfor Fisheri," 7de 
Aargang, p. 13, that under no circumstances has the cold anything to 
do with it. He also protests against having advanced the opinion that 
a herring-period (i. e., a period of successful herring-fisheries) should 
now have come to an end as far as Norway is concerned. He has only, 
from the sources accessible to him, cited a number of facts " which show 
under what conditions the herring-fisheries came to an end in former 
times and in different localities; how they again returned, and in what 
manner the fisheries were carried on year after year. From these his- 
toric facts, a certain law can be deduced regarding the movements of 
the great masses of herring, which do not come and go irregularly 
on certain parts of the coast, but whose movements occur with a 
certain regularity." He lets every one from this draw his own con- 
clusions, which he considers justified, and gives his opinion on the 
whole with great reserve : u That even if it does not follow, from all which 
has been said, that the spring-herring will leave our coasts, (the south- 
ern spring-herring district,) all the appearances are not favorable to the 
opposite opinion. 77 We must agree with Mr. Sars that in so far as Mr. 
Boeck has given any opinion on this question, it must be that the appear- 
ances are not favorable for the nearest future of the Norwegian spring- 
herring fisheries ; but whether or not Mr. Boeck will stand by this proph- 
ecy, whose correctness only the future can show, it seems that the expe- 
rience of last year will bear it out. The important question, why does 
the herring during a certain period of years go to the inner spawning- 
places, while during another period it remains outside, has so far (1872) 
not been answered; just as little as the question, what may cause the 
gradual change in the spawning-season, which, according to Boeck's 
investigations, always seems to precede the end of the herring-fisheries. 
Mr. Sars believes, as we shall see in another chapter, (1873,) that he has 
found satisfactory answers to all these questions; but we have not yet 
reached this point. 

Mr. Boeck says, in the "Eemarks" with which he accompanies Mr. 
Sars's "Keport" in the " MorgenbladeV 1 of November 5, that in his work 
on the herring he has already hinted at the same view regarding the 
relation of the summer-herring and the spring-herring which Mr. Sars 
has advanced, and that the reason why he (Boeck) did not describe this 
relation more fully was merely a want of opportunity to visit the sum- 
mer-herring fisheries farther north — during the years in question there 


was no, or at least a very inconsiderable, summer-herring fishery in the 
southern district — and that he was prevented from visiting the northern 
fisheries by Mr. Sars's using the greater portion of the appropriation 
made for both of them for his journeys to the Lofoten Islands, or in 
some other manner. However this may be, we cannot but side with 
Mr. Boeck in his protest against the accusations that he systematically 
maintained the historic mode of investigation, in opposition to the scien- 
tific mode. He also shows that the different years of the herring given 
by Sars are nearly the same as those given some years ago by Mr.Dahl, 
of Bergen,* with the difference only that the latter gave to the spring- 
herring an age of six years instead of five, which opinion one often 
hears expressed on the western coast, (and which, as will be seen from 
Sars's report for 1873, he also shares.) Mr. Boeck, in this important 
point — the relation between the summer-herring and the spring-her- 
ring — does not express an essentially different view. He fully agrees 
with Mr. Sars that the summer-herring is nothing but the spring-herring 
at a different age; but he does not think that this is the case with all 
summer-herring ; and he maintains that there are really peculiar coast- 
races of herring on the coasts of Sweden and Norway,! and that they 
may spawn at a later season than the spring-herring, viz, in April on 
the coast of Norway, and in May on the Swedish coast of Bohuslen. 
In the fact that toward the end of November, on the northern coast, he 
had an opportunity of examining a " merchants' herring," which was 
full of loose roe, he finds a proof that the autumn-herring (probably 
when it remains in the fjords) can spawn before the herring's usual 
spawning-time in spring, at which time Boeck is also inclined to think 
the majority of the autumn-herring spawns ; and this early-spawning 
autumn-herring could then, if we understand Mr. Boeck correctly, also 
be considered as a separate race of herrings. 

Boeck further remarks that experience shows that if in a certain 
place there is during one year a rich spring-herring fishery, such fact 
does not justify the hope that the next winter or spring there will be 
a rich spring-herring fishery in the same place. " If there should be 

* Dahl's years, with which Sars now entirely agrees, were the following : First year, 
Musse ; second year, Aesja ; third year, Christiania herring; fourth year, middle her- 
ring ; fifth year, merchants' herring ; sixth year, spring-herring. It has, therefore, 
also been supposed that the spring-herring fisheries occur in periods of six years, on the 
idea that the herring, for the purpose of spawning, would return to the place where it 
had been hatched ; and in many cases this idea has been correct. 

t An article in the " Throndhjems Stiftsavis" for 1862 makes the following distinc- 
tion between two varieties of the summer-herring : " The sea-herring^ which during 
summer comes in from the high sea, and " the fjord-herring ," which remains in the 
fjords, and duriug the summer-herriug fisheries mixes* with the incoming sea-herring. 
Boeck, however, supposes that such coast-races have originated, and still originate, by 
more or less developed sea-herring going into the deeper and more secluded inlets, and 
remaining there. Their young may possibly again become sea-herring, but more per- 
manent varieties may also form in such places, e. g., the Hoxfjordherring, the Idefjord- 
herring, &c. 


rich spring-herring fisheries in the same places where, during the pre- 
ceding summer, great masses of summer-herring have shown themselves, 
we ought to have had for a long number of years steady and particu- 
larly rich spring-herring fisheries on the coast north of Christians- 
sund as far as the Tromso district, and even farther north ; but noth- 
ing of the kind is known, no real spring-herring having been caught 
along that coast during this century." Sars, in answer to this, says, if 
we understand him correctly, that the northern " sea-herring," or "great 
herring," is the same as the "spring-herring;" but Boeck draws atten- 
tion to the fact that the " great herring "does not go farther south than 
the boundary of the Nordland district, and that, from that point as far as 
Ohristianssund, there is a long stretch of coast where large summer-her- 
ring fisheries have taken place and still take place, and where no spring- 
herring are caught. The "great-herring " fisheries did not commence 
till 1861, and prior to that year there had not been any spring-fisheries 
in that location for sixty, perhaps for eighty, years. During those years 
when the spring herring had left the heights of Stavanger entirely, 
(1784 to 1808,) there were rich summer-herring fisheries in the Stavan- 
ger fjord, and in other places, and these fisheries were most successful 
in the middle years of this period ; when the spring-herring fisheries 
again increased, the summer-herring disappeared altogether. Several 
printed and manuscript reports particularly deplore the fact that the 
valuable "summer-herring" has gone away, while the inferior " spring- 
herring" has come again. Just as little is it known from experience that 
where there have been rich spring-herring fisheries for a number of 
years, great numbers of summer-herring could at the same time be 
caught in the inlets along this coast. It appears, from the Stavanger 
and Bergenshus districts' reports, published every five years, that, for 
many years, when the spring-herring fisheries were successful, few or 
no summer-herring were caught on the same coast. It is only during 
the last few years that the summer-herring fisheries have been success- 
ful in the Stavanger fjords, but during these very years the spring- 
herring fishery has not amounted to anything. The hopes which have 
been built on the great quantity of young fish coming in have also 
but too often been disappointed, and no conclusion can be reached as to 
the probable fate of the Norwegian spring-herring fisheries in the near 
future. " When the spring-herring, in 1833, went past the cape (Lin- 
desnses) as far as Mandal, all the bays were later in the year full of 
young herring. The inhabitants of that coast for that reason enter- 
tained great hopes of continuing the fisheries during the following 
years, especially when the young from that year would have grown up j 
but these hopes were not fulfilled, for later no herring appeared on that 
side of the cape. During the year when the spring-herring left the 
coast, it had spawned near Flekkefjord, and numerous young fish justi- 
fied the hope of future rich fisheries, although the fishing during that • 
year had been poor, and the herring had kept in such deep water that 


some were taken at a depth of 80 fathoms ; but the joy was but short- 
lived, for it only lasted till the time in the following year when the fish- 
eries were to commence, when no herring appeared, nor have they 
appeared since." Similar masses of young herring showed themselves 
on the coast of Bohuslen (Sweden) in the year when the great-herring 
fisheries on the coast ceased. 

With regard to the objection raised by Mr. Boeck against the opinion 
that the summer-herring is only a young spring-herring, viz, that the 
greater or less success of the spring-herring fishery on the coast of 
Stavanger is in no wise connected with the summer-herring fisheries on 
the same coast, great spring-herring fisheries having occurred during 
those years when the summer-herring fisheries did not amount to any- 
thing, Mr. Sars says that the difficulty in solving this problem dis- 
appears if one maintains the difference between " herring-fisheries" and 
the u occurrence of herring." " The former is, of course, dependent on 
many accidental circumstances, and may, therefore, although the num- 
ber of herring is the same, be very different. This must especially be 
supposed to be the case with the summer-herring fisheries. The summer- 
herring may certainly be near the coast in very large masses without any 
great fisheries being carried on. A rich summer-herring fishery depends 
exclusively on the accidental occurrence of small crustaceans and their 
entirely accidental accumulation in certain places which are favorable 
to the fisheries, and to this, of course, no regard is had in the historical 
report on the fisheries." This explanation of Mr. Sars of the fact that a 
rich spring-herring fishery is not always followed by a rich summer-her- 
ring fishery is doubtless correct, but it does argue away the experience 
that, vice versa, a rich summer-herring fishery is not followed by a good 
spring-herring fishery. Other causes must be found for this. He cer- 
tainly answers the objection that on the coast from Ohristianssund to 
Nordlaud no proper spring-herring fisheries are carried on, by saying 
that the spring-herring may be there and spawn out in the deep water, 
without any actual fishery being carried on 5 and, moreover, that there 
isnothing which tells us that its offspring, the summer-herring, is entirely 
stationary in those places where it is hatched, but it is probable that it 
goes along the coast and gathers in those places where the small crus- 
taceans are chiefly found." We think, however, that in this case it is 
Mr. Sars who does not distinguish between " herring-fisheries" and the 
"occurrence of herring;" for of what use is it to the fisherman, as Mr. 
Boeck remarks, that there are herring enough out in the sea, if they 
won't come in and let themselves be caught in those places where fishing 
can be carried on % There is certainly, as has been said before, no doubt 
that the herring stays outside the coast of Norway every winter and 
spring during the spawning-season 5 and whether it remains outside and 
spawns there, or approaches the coast, the young will at any rate seek 
shelter near it. There will, therefore, always be enough young herring, 
(whether they flock together so that they can be caught to advantage ; 


or not, which will depend on stream and wind collecting their food ;) 
but from the circumstance that there are many "sunimer-herriug," or 
young herring, no conclusion can be drawn as to the probable result of 
the spring herring fisheries. It is in reality only the " occurrence of 
herring" which Mr. iSars has been able to promise his countrymen, and 
of this there was no reason to doubt; but so far it is not within any- 
body's power to predict " herring- fisheries," because we know not the 
causes — at any rate, not the proper causes which can form the subject of 
observations and calculations — of the periodical changes in the spawn- 
ing-season and coming in of the herring, but only know from experience 
that whenever these changes take place there is reason to fear that the 
spring-herring for a number of years will not come to its old spawning- 
places on the coast in order to spawn there, but stay farther out, as is 
partly also the case with the Nordlands-herring, or the " great-herring." 

Mr. Sars, with regard to this, has raised the objection that the " sea- 
herring" has been known long before 1861, but that it has not been 
made an object of fishing, probably because formerly it did not come so 
near the land as during the last years. The Lofoten fishermen took as 
many of these fish as they used for their households by taking them out 
of the sea in a very primitive manner — in buckets. Mr. Boeck quite 
agrees with him in this point, but did not mean anything else than that 
its "occurrence" before 1861 did not take place near the coast so that 
it could have been fished with the common fishing-implements. Eegard- 
ing the " great-herring," Mr. Boeck says, on this occasion, that it does 
not differ from the spring-herring, but that its apparently different 
shape is only caused by the greater amount of fat it contains, as on 
approaching the coast it is not ready for spawning. Only at one place 
did Boeck, toward the end of the fishery, in January, find u great-her- 
ring" with loose roe and milt. As a general rule, it does not spawn 
near the coast, but far out at sea, where large masses of herring have 
every year been seen, both in this and the last century, from Hammers- 
fest to Hitteren, from which cause a large number of young fish are 
every year seen near the coast and in the fjords ; but in this century, 
from some unknown reasons, they had not approached the coast so that 
they could be caught, before 180 1. As the great-herring, therefore, does 
not approach the coast for the purpose of spawning, the great-herring 
fisheries are always somewhat uncertain. As was said before, we do 
not know the cause why this full-grown herring, which, however, is not 
ready to spawn, approaches the coast in this manner; it is only sup- 
posed that it has lost its way by following the large troughs of the sea 
which lead to the coast. 

Although there remain several obscure " herring-problems," it is evi- 
dent that, by Mr. Sars's report of 1872 and by Mr. Boeck's comments 
upon it, made during the same year, we have advanced some steps in 
understanding the connection between the various phenomena, partic- 
ularly by proving that the summer-herring only represents different 


stages in the life of the spring-herring ; that it has no separate spawn- 
ing-time; and that its movements are determined by its favorite food, 
L e., small crustaceans. Besides acknowledging the progress that 
had been made, we thought that we owed it to the whole question, as 
well as to the memory of Mr. Boeck, to save from oblivion what he had 
written concerning it during the last days of his life, and which, on 
account of its being contained in a daily journal, could only be accessi- 
ble to a few, whose number would naturally decrease every day. Our 
review of the state of the Norwegian herring-question at the end of the 
year 1872 will at the same time serve as an introduction to a review of 
the considerable progress which has been made by Mr. Sars's report for 
1873, published in 1874, to which we will now turn. 


The above review of the discussion carried on in 1872 had long since 
been written for insertion in this periodical, when we received Mr. 
Sars's above-mentioned report for 1873, in which he gives in detail his 
complete theory of the migrations of the Norwegian herring and the 
causes which determine them. We likewise take the liberty to give, in 
the following, a brief extract from this report. 

Mr. Sars does not believe that the grown spring-herring, after having 
spawned on the western coast of South Norway, (from Christianssund 
to Stavanger,) goes out to the nearest deep water due west — i. e., between 
the coast and the ridge in the bottom of the sea running parallel with it 
from north to south, at a distance of from ten to fifteen miles — and stays 
there near the bottom of the sea during three-fourths of the year when 
it is not near the coast. This portion of the bottom, which^as Mr. Sars 
has found by former observations, possesses but little animal life, and 
must, comparatively speaking, be called a desert, is but little suited for 
these enormous masses of fish, and there is no reason to suppose that 
the herring is a bottom fish ; it is, on the contrary, in harmony with its 
form as well as its favorite food — the small fat and oily crustaceans of 
the surface — a fish which has its home near the surface of the water. 
We do not deny that the Baltic, the Kattegat, perhaps, also, the Ska- 
gerak, and the North Sea, have each their race of herrings, which do not 
go beyond the basin of the sea which, by nature and habit, has been 
assigned to them ; but the Norwegian spring-herring comes from a greater 
distance, from the open sea between Iceland, Scotland, and Norway, not 
from the bottom of this sea, but from its surface. Here it has lived, 
especially during summer, very much scattered, on its favorite food, 
which is there found in great quantities, (more or less near the surface, 
according to the rising or sinking of this food, caused by the time of day 
and the weather) ; and from here it approaches the Norwegian coast, in 
a southeasterly direction, toward the beginning of the spawning-season, 
gathering in large and constantly-increasing schools, and following the 
deep troughs, till at last they are quite near the coast, and form a so-called 


" herring-mountain," — a high, deep, and closely-packed mass of herrings. 
It has been found, by certain observations which have already been 
communicated in Boeck's well-known work on the herring, (p. 47,) that 
the herring always comes from the northwest. That it follows this direc- 
tion is easily explained by the fact, settled by Professor Mohn's meteo- 
rological observations, that the sea on this portion of the western coast 
of Norway, during the winter-months, (December to February,) has a 
higher average degree of warmth than near the coast farther south, or 
on. the coast a little to the north, a very uniform degree of warmth, (5° 
to 6° Keaumur,) about the same as in the nearest portion of the sea- 
basin from which the herring is supposed to come. If thelierring would 
go due east, therefore, to a more northerly portion of the coast, e. #., the 
neighborhood of Throndhjem, it would come in contact with water whose 
degree of warmth would decrease very rapidly toward the north, from 
4° to 2° Keaumur. Another school of herrings, the Nordland great-her- 
ring, lives, in Sars's opinion, to the northwest of Nordland and Fin- 
marken, but somewhat nearer the coast, because there the sea is richer 
in small crustaceans than farther south, in the neighborhood of the 
coast ; it, therefore, comes near the coast comparatively early in its 
migration toward the southeast or south, being fatter, but less ready to 

Immediately after being hatched, the young herring, being born on 
the bottom of the sea, naturally stays near it on the outer coast, where 
the spring-herring loves to spawn. As soon as the umbilical bag has 
been completely absorbed and the fins have become developed, it goes 
near the surface of the water to snap for small living animals; but as 
near the oufrer coast it is exposed to many dangers, (the current, heavy 
waves, &c.,) and to the persecutions of birds and fishes, instinct has 
taught it to go nearer to the land, in the more secluded sounds and bays, 
where it often can be seen in enormous numbers. As soon as it has 
reached the size of a few inches, it begins to rove about in constantly- 
increasing schools, in fact to assume its — according to Sars — charac- 
teristic roving mode of life, which is again dependent on its food, 
viz, the small crustaceans of the surface, whose very irregular occur- 
rence is again dependent on the current. It also depends on acci- 
dental circumstances how far it goes from its birth-place during this 
first period of its life, and to what extent it scatters over a larger 
or smaller portiou of the coast. During its first year, however, it 
probably keeps near the coast; only gradually as it grows larger and 
its desire for food increases will it be obliged to go farther out into 
the sea, where the small crustaceans, as a general rule, are found in 
great quantities, and thus, like the torsk, it gradually approaches those 
portions of the sea where its ancestors came from. All this would 
go on with the greatest regularity, if the small crustaceans were not 
frequently packed together, by sudden changes in the weather and con- 
sequent changes of the current, in large masses near the coast and its 


bays and fjords, drawing the schools of young herring — the so-called 
" suinmer-herring" — after them, and after a while taking them out to sea 
again when the current changes. In exceptional cases, schools of her- 
ring remain in the deep fjords for a whole year and loDger, and such 
herrings will naturally assume a character of their own, so as to pass 
for a special variety or coast-race. Although, as has been said before, 
we know all the stages in the life of the herring near the coast of Nor- 
way, and would, therefore, reasonably suppose that its whole youth, till 
the period when it spawns for the first time, was spent near the coast, 
Sars remarks expressly that, on the whole, the occurrence of the summer- 
herring near the coast must be considered as altogether temporary. It 
comes, like the older herring, (the spring-herring,) from the open sea, but 
not from such a distance as this one. " Some time before the large masses 
of summer-herring came to Espevser, in 1873, the mackerel-fishers often 
caught considerable quantities of large and fat summer-herrings in their 
nets at a distance of from five to six miles from the coast, and schools 
of large and small herrings could often be observed from the mackerel- 
boats. Soon afterward the current, on account of a very sudden change 
in the weather, turned with unusual violence toward the islands near 
Espevser, and carried with it enormous quantities of small crustaceans, 
which were closely packed in all the neighboring bays and sounds ; then 
the herrings began to come in from the sea, first the larger and then 
the smaller ones." As during winter the small crustaceans are not 
found near the coast in such large quantities, the migration of the young 
herring toward the sea will, on the whole, be much less disturbed than 
during summer, and there are no instances of the spring-herring having 
returned to the coast to seek food after having spawned. As soon as 
the herring has got farther away from the coast, out in the open sea, it 
will not be enticed so much toward the coast by the small crustaceans, 
as the currents there are generally more regular than near the coast ; 
consequently only young herring — at least the majority of them — which 
have not yet got far enough from the coast, visit the coasts of Norway 
during summer. Sars, however, does not consider it improbable that 
among the large " merchants' herring" there may also be some which 
formerly, as u spring-herring," have spawned near the coast. It is a 
natural consequence of the temperature of the sea and the direction of 
the current (which from Stat is chiefly northerly) that the distribution 
of the young herring along the coast and its outward movement chiefly 
take place in a northerly direction, and, as a consequence of this, the 
summer-herring fisheries are generally richest along the Throndbjeni 
coast, although the spring-herring is not known to spawn anywhere out- 
side that coast. The " fat-herring" caught along the coasts of Nord- 
land and Finmarken bears the same relation to the Nordland " great- 
herring" as the "summer-herring" does to the "spring-herring." 

Among the phenomena which have been brought to light by the 
historic studies or the regularities and irregularities in the course and 


results of the herring-fishery, the most remarkable one is this, that the 
spring-herring fishery has not at all times commenced at the same 
period of the year, but that at times it has had a tendency to extend 
farther and farther into spring, which became particularly evident 
toward the end of the so-called " herring-periods." The difference in 
the time of the spring-herring's arrival on the coast may be a month 
and a half from some time before New Year till some time in February. 
From these experiences, *Boeck could also in a certain manner predict 
the decrease of the spring-herring fisheries which has taken place now. 
This circumstance has so far been entirely unexplained ; if the herring 
had its proper home in the deep sea-basins near the coast, what should 
cause it to leave these later and later every year, or to come early after 
the lapse of many years ? It could, on the other hand, easily be under- 
stood that its arrival caused a shorter stay, and a disinclination to go 
near the coast, so that the result of the fisheries would naturally be less. 

Sars supposes that on account of the varying strength and direction 
of the currents in the open North Sea, which depend on the differences 
of the weather, the distribution of small crustaceans in the sea will dif- 
fer very much in the different years ; and, as the herring naturally stays 
where it finds food, it will, when its migratory instinct awakens, be 
nearer the coast, and consequently arrive sooner than in another where 
it has been farther out and when its journey toward the coast required 
longer time. As the movement toward the coast, in this case in a 
southeasterly direction, will probably always occur about the same sea- 
son of the year, (some time before the roe and milt, which likewise 
develop at a certain season, are ready for spawning,) it follows of itself 
that the spring-herring which comes in early is of a better quality, stays 
longer near the coast, and will be able to go farther up the bays and 
sounds ; in other words, that the fishery will yield a much better, richer, 
and safer result than in the opposite case, when the herring only re- 
mains for a season near the outermost coast, and is much thinner and 
more exhausted, and when only occasionally a small school is chased 
near the land by large fishes of prey. The herring-fishery may there- 
fore yield a very different result, even if the same mass of herrings has 
year after year been outside the coast and has produced the same quantity 
of young ones. The final cause of the irregularity in the spring-herring 
fisheries must therefore be sought in the changes of weather, cur- 
rent, and temperature of the water in the outer sea, not so much during 
the fishing-season as during the rest of the year, particularly during 
the preceding autumn and summer. 

Whether there is in this respect a periodicity which corresponds with 
that of the herring-fishery will be more satisfactorily explained by fu- 
ture observations than by the study of the past. For the present, it 
cannot be denied that such a thing is possible. " It is a fact that the 
occurrence of small crustaceans during summer on the western coast 
of Norway differs very much in the different years. Some years the 


sea near the coast during the whole summer has been filled with great 
masses of different crustaceans; in other years, they disappeared almost 
entirely, or were only accidentally driven to different points of the coast 
by the current, soon to disappear again." One of the most convincing 
evidences that the small pelagic animals, among them the genuine " her- 
ring-crustacean," are in certain years driven near the coast by the cur- 
rent, is the existence of salpse, which are as transparent as glass, 
and which are found either singly or in long-connected chains resem- 
bling pearl necklaces; out in the open sea they axe found every year, but 
near the coast many years may pass before one sees a single one; and all 
of a sudden in a certain year they approach the coast in such enormous 
masses that every bay and sound is filled with them. The occasional 
occurrence of these animals in large masses has attracted the attention of 
the fishermen, and is counted among the " signs" which augur a good 
spring-hen ing fishery during the coming winter, and it would seem 
probably not without reason. During such a year, the herring will 
already during summer have come tolerably near the coast, and will 
consequently arrive early in winter, &c. 

The so-called " mixed herring," which of late years has appeared in 
the spring-herring district, is described as an inferior kind of herring, 
w r hich formerly was not known, and in whose occurrence people believe 
they see a sure warning that the spring-herring fisheries will soon come 
to an end. It has been described in many different ways. It probably 
consists chiefly of herring in different stages of life, which are not yet able 
to spawn, and are driven toward the coast by the " spring-herring 
mountains," which approach the coast from the sea ; e. #., the barren 
"Straalsild," (ray-herring,) or "• Solhovedsild," (sunhead-herring,) which 
are probably fishes that have been left behind from the spring : herring 
school of the preceding year, have remained near the coast, and, on 
account of the want of suitable food, have not become ripe for spawn- 
ing during this year. The longer the route which the advancing 
masses of the old spawning herring have to travel, the greater number 
of these young herring, which have never yet approached the open sea 
in their slow course, will they drive before them, and all the more 
mixed will the different schools and ages of the herring be. They 
drive before them first the older ones, which had got farthest out, then 
the yoringer ones, which had not got so far, and mix them with the barren 
Straalsild, (ray-herring,) which they always meet on their approach to 
the coast, as well as with some stragglers from the great mass of herrings; 
these latter, of course, beingcom mou spring-herring, which are nearly ready 
to spawn. The bulk of the mixed herrings, viz, the young herring which 
are not yet ready to spawn, are therefore in reality the same herrings 
which earlier in the season were called summer-herring. Their occur- 
rence in unusual numbers may, therefore, undoubtedly be a sign of a less 
productive spring-herring fishery during that year, but does not augur 
anything regarding the more distant future. As long as the young 
14 F 


herring are every year in largest numbers in their accustomed places, 
there is no reason to suppose that the spring-herring fishery will come 
to an end, although the fisheries may, on account of many accidental 
circumstances, be more or less productive in the different years. 

Professor Sars's theory will become clearer to the reader by casting a 
glance at the accompanying map.* This theory must be plausible in a 
high degree, and no serious objections to it can be raised, as it seems to 
explain the most characteristic phenomena of the Norwegian herring- 
fisheries in a satisfactory manner. The criticism of its details we will 
leave to those who have made, or are going to make, the herring-fishery 
and the natural history of the herring the subject of special studies. Its 
weak points (if they may be termed such) can easily be pointed out : 
first of all, to use a simile, so many and large drafts are issued on the 
unknown, the unproved, and the unprovable. It will be difficult to at- 
tack Professor Sars in the rear by proving to him that the herring is not 
found in those places which he assigns it during three-fourths of the 
year, or that the former relations of wind, current, and weather in the 
North Sea do not show any periodicity which corresponds with that of 
the herring-fishery. But, on the other hand, it must be remembered 
that no proof has been given that all this is not so. Another weak point 
in Sars's theory is that it cannot easily be applied to herring-fisheries 
outside of Norway. At least, one cannot read. Mr. Sars's application of 
his theory to the Bohuslen (Sweden) fisheries with entire satisfaction : 
"At a time when the small crustaceans, on account of the peculiar cur- 
rents of the ocean, have filled the North Sea and the Skagerak to an 
unusual degree, it can easily be imagined that a portion of the great 
mass of herrings coming originally from the northwest have got so far 
into this part of the sea that, on the approach of the spawning-season, 
by following the usual southeasterly direction, they have come toward 
the coast of Bohuslen, where they have spawned, and later, in obedience 
to the instinct common to all fish, have returned to the same coast where 
they have spawned once, thus gradually forming a race of herrings pecu- 
liar to the Skagerak, whose disappearance must at any rate in part be 
ascribed to the less bountiful supply of small crustaceaus in this part of 
the sea." These possible weaknesses of the theory do not, however, as 
Professor Sars very justly remarks, reduce it to a mere play of ideas, or 
detract from its merits as a satisfactory explanation of some of the most 
important and most obscure points of the whole question, but leave it 
as a combination of phenomena according with well-known facts, which 
may form the basis of further investigations, carried on with a fixed plan 
and in a thoughtful manner. Let us hope that out of the fiery ordeal to 
which future investigations will put it, it will only come out stronger ! 
For the present we welcome it sincerely as an important step in advance. 

O. L. 

• The map referred to has not been reproduced. 


P. S. — We learn that, at the suggestion of Professor Mohn, the director 
of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, an expedition will this sum- 
mer (1875) be fitted out for exploring the open North Sea between Nor- 
way, Iceland, and the Farce Islands, to which Professor Sars will be 
attached. We hope that this eminent naturalist will thus have a chance 
to submit his theory to a test in that direction where we think that its 
weakest point lies, viz, in the hitherto unknown. We heartily wish that 
he may have the triumphant satisfaction to clear up every doubt, and 
dissipate the last clouds of obscurity which envelop the natural history 
of the Norwegian herring. 



By Professor G. O. Sars, 

Commissioned by the Norwegian government to examine our cod- 
fisheries, in order to arrive at practical results that may be useful to our 
fishermen, I have been enabled to observe the spawning and develop- 
ment of the cod-fish, (Gadus morrhua,) and shall endeavor to present the 
results of my observations. I have already, in my former reports to the 
department, briefly spoken of the most important observations and 
showed their practical bearing, so that in the following I shall refer 
only to the scientific features of the subject. It is true that a subject 
of such general physiological interest as the propagation and develop- 
ment of the higher classes of animals has already been thoroughly 
treated by many scientists, so that it would seem almost superfluous to 
write a treatise on this subject ; but with regard to the propagation and 
development of fishes there are but few works, and these comprise only 
a few kinds, (all fresh-water fishes,) while the observations regarding 
the numerous salt-water fishes are only scattered here and there in the 
shape of incidental remarks. Thinking that for the sake of comparison 
it might be interesting to secure a somewhat connected representation 
of the spawning and development in one class of salt-water fishes, I 
determined during my stay on the Lofoten Islands, in the year 1865, to 
give particular attention to this point, especially as, during former visits 
to these islands, I had already made very remarkable and unexpected 
observations of this kind. 

Of all our cod-fisheries that which is carried on during the first four 
months of the year along the Lofoten Islands is the most important 
and the most profitable. The winter cod-fish at that season approaches 
the coast in vast numbers for the purpose of spawning. The regularity 
with which, from time immemorial, the cod-fish has at a certain season 
come here to spawn, notwithstanding the many difficulties thrown in its 
way, especially by nets, would lead us to the conclusion that it must find 
spawning-places here which, on account of the nature of the bottom, are 
particularly favorable, and where, by instinct, it was compelled to deposit 
its roe. I was therefore much astonished to hear that this was not the 
case, and that the cod-fish has no spawning-places which are determined 
by the nature of the bottom, but that it drops its spawn free in the sea 

* Oni Vintertorskens, (Gadus morrhua.) Forplantning og Udvikling: in Forhandl. 
Vid. Selsk. Christiauia, 18G6, pp. 237-249. Translated by H. Jacobson. 


at a considerable distance from the bottom, and, what is all the more 
remarkable, that the spawn does not sink to the bottom, but goes through 
all the stages of its development swimming free in the sea quite near the 
surface. Nothing like this has hitherto been observed in fishes or any 
other class of animals, and even the fishermen, who every day for years 
have had occasion to observe this phenomenon, have a very incorrect 
idea of the actual facts. They have all observed that at the time when 
the cod-fish spawns the sea was thick and opaque, as if it were muddy, 
and all agreed that this must be caused by the spawn of the fish. Some 
more inquisitive fishermen even tried to examine the matter more closely 
by taking some of this water home with them. They then saw that the 
water was swarming with very small transparent bodies looking like 
pearls, but none of them w T ould admit that this was the spawn of the 
cod-fish. They thought it might be the empty shell of the spawn which, 
after the young had crept out, came up from the bottom and floated 
about on the surface of the sea. The circumstances are so peculiar that I 
myself, the first time I met these but slightly developed and sporadically 
occurring little bodies, transparent as a drop of water, was doubtful as 
to their real nature. By microscopic observation, however, I very soon 
became convinced of the actual facts. Some time later, when the spawn- 
ing was going on, I also found these small bodies in great numbers and 
in every stage of development, even up to the young fish, with all its 
most important organs clearly developed, lying in the egg ready to slip 
out. By a study of this egg, from its impregnation till the time when 
the young fish emerges, I sufficiently convinced myself that this spawn 
floating about in the sea belonged to the cod-fish and to no other. But 
as it has thus been proved that the spawning proceeds just as well in 
the open sea as near the coast, what must, then, be assigned as the cause 
of the cod-fish's seeking the coast with such eagerness ? Two reasons 
may be assigned for this : the cod-fish does not originally seem to be a 
gregarious fish, and while it lives in the open sea it, in all probability, is 
found over a very large area. In order, now, that the spawn may come 
into close contact — in other words, that the roe may become impreg- 
nated — it is absolutely necessary for the cod-fish, which spawns free in 
the sea, that the originally solitary living fishes should come together in 
greater numbers, and this could scarcely be done unless they all moved 
toward the same common rendezvous. Another reason may be the in- 
stinctive care which they have for their tender offspring, as it is easier 
to find food for it near the coast in this the first stage of its develop- 
ment j for, at the same period, many smaller marine animals are just de- 
veloping themselves. At this season, particularly, I have seen the sea 
swarming with the small, peculiar-looking larvae of the balanus, which 
might very well furnish a suitable food for the young cod-fish. 

The approach of the cod-fish takes place early in the season, often 
long before New Year, and occurs in schools, in such a manner that the 
schools, which in the beginning are only small, gradually grow larger, 


till the time for spawning arrives, when they frequently assume such 
enormous dimensions that the term " fish-mountain," which is sometimes 
applied to them, does not seem exaggerated. In all these schools, even 
in those which come first, the male aud female fishes are intermingled, 
which but rarely occurs amoug other kinds of fish. Thus, as to the 
herriug, the female fishes always come first, and are followed by the 
males, which pour their milt over the roe. This peculiarity in the cod- 
fish is easily explained by the above-mentioned character of its roe ; 
thus, in order that an impregnation may take place, the roe and the 
milt must be poured out at the same time and mix in the sea. In those 
fishes which arrive first, the roe and the milt, although tolerably devel- 
oped, are as yet far from being matured. The roe is still so small-grained 
that without the microscope the small eggs can scarcely be distinguished. 
These eggs are of a light yellowish-red color, and show under the micro- 
scope a very light outer ring, and an inner opaque fine-grained mass, 
(yolk.) All the eggs in this stage are connected by a fine textured full 
of blood-vessels, mostly in irregular, conical processes, all which con- 
verge toward the center of the roe-bags. These encircle an inner hollow, 
into which the eggs are received as soon as they are matured, in order 
to be carried out through the two longer channels, which start from the 
inner side of the roe-bag, and which unite toward the back in one. In 
their further development the eggs constantly increase in size, and, at 
the same time, become more transparent, till they are almost colorless. 
They are now almost mature, but still loosely connected by a thiu texture, 
and surrounded by a thin covering, in which the feeding blood-vessels 
spread in a branch -like manner. Soon, however, this covering bursts, 
and the mature egg is now cut off from its connectionwith the rest, and 
falls into the inner hollow of the roe-bag, from which, by a gentle press- 
ure on the fish's abdomen, it can be brought out through the sexual 
opeuing (porus genitalis). The eggs are now as transparent as water, 
about one millimeter in diameter, and appear to the eye like small pearls 
of clear crystal. Placed in a glass with sea- water, they first sink to the 
bottom, on account of the downward movements of the water, but rise 
again, as soon as the water has become calm, to the surface, where they 
form a closely -packed floating layer. Their specific weight is less than 
that of the sea-water, and greater than that of fresh water, of which 
fact one may easily be convinced by placing them la a glass of common 
drinking-water, in which they rapidly sink to the bottom, without rising 
again.* The yelk of those eggs which have but recently come out from 
the ovarium appears, under the microscope, quite clear and transparent, 

*.This accurately-measured specific weight is of the greatest importance for the 
development of the egg. If, for instance, it should storm and rain for several days, 
there might easily be formed a thin layer of mixed sea and fresh water, which would 
contain less brine ; so that if the specific weight of the roe floating in the sea were 
only a small particle less, this circumstance would have a very injurious effect on its 


with a very faiut yellowish tinge, almost completely filling the egg, and 
leaving only an extremely narrow space between it and the outer cover, 
filled with a colorless and utterly incongruous mass. The outer cover 
or skin is tolerably firm and elastic, and consists, as I have convinced 
myself by dissecting it, of four different closely -joined layers. One can 
discover, with the aid of a strong microscope, numerous small oil-bladders 
of different sizes, and scattered irregularly over the whole surface of 
the yelk. The egg has another peculiarity, which in the beginning I 
overlooked, but which, after having had my attention drawn to it, I 
found invariably in every egg. This is a small dark spot, only discerni- 
ble through the microscope, which is found in the outer skin, and which 
is always near that part of the egg that is turned downward. Its loca- 
tion is not exactly the same in every egg, for sometimes it is quite close 
to the lower part, and sometimes a little higher up on the side of the 
egg', but among the many hundreds of eggs which I have examined I 
did not find a single one where this dark spot w T as above the lower 
quarter of the egg's diameter ; nor a single one where it occupied exactly 
the lowest point of the egg. This spot is the so-called micropyle, which 
answers a two-fold purpose, namely, to allow the spermatozoa to enter 
the egg, and, also, during the various stages of development, to draw 
in water; in other words, it forms the channel of impregnation, and 
serves as a respiratory organ. Through the most powerful microscope 
this spot appears as a circular disk of yellow color, surrounded by a 
somewhat raised edge, and looking as if it were polished. From this 
spot a narrow channel passes through the skin of the egg, which ends in a 
funnel-shaped opening. I have not been able to discover any distinct 
opening in the above-meutioned round disk. It is certain, therefore, 
that it is not merely a hole in the egg, but seems to be of a porous na- 
ture and to possess a peculiar power of suction. But how can the sper- 
matozoa get into the egg through this disk? To the solution of this 
problem I have devoted special attention by pouring a drop of milt to 
the eggs, while under the microscope. I have frequently seen the sper- 
matozoa, as often as they came in contact with this disk, remain hang- 
ing there, and I could for a long time observe the movements of the tail 
outside, but I never could see them enter into the egg, although this \3> 
so entirely transparent that one necessarily must have seen them if they 
had entered the clear space filled with water between the skin and the 
yolk. The most plausible explanation of this phenomenon seems to be 
this, that the spermatozoa, which in reality are only cells, after having 
been for some time in close contact with the micropyle, were ruptured 
in consequence of the hitter's suction-power, and that their contents 
only are absorbed by the egg, a view which, so far as I am aware, has 
never before been expressed. The spermatozoa of the cod-fish are oval, 
or rather pear-shaped bodies, to whose pointed end the tail is fastened. 
The milt, like the roe, is of less specific weight than the sea- water, and 
it therefore floats upon the surface as soon as it is poured out. This 


circumstance may account for the fact that the male fish during the act 
of spawning generally swims deeper than the female ; and likewise for 
the fact that the micropyle is located near the lower portion of the egg, 
while with other fish which have been observed this order of things is 
reversed. After the egg has floated in the water for some time, it under- 
goes a very striking change. At the lower end the yelk becomes 
thicker, and viewed from the side appears like a crescent-shaped edge, 
of a deep yellow, and much more compact than the rest of the yelk. 
This compact mass grows constantly more distinct, till at last it forms 
a tolerably large semicircular projection. The yelk has thus secreted 
those parts which are to serve in the formation of the young fish from 
the remainder, which is to serve as its food. This portion, however, 
has still to undergo considerable changes till it is fit to produce the 
young. At the same time one can observe how the oil-bladders, which 
were originally scattered over the whole surface, gradually flow together 
and form larger bladders, gathering in a close circle round the micro- 
pyle, and so growing together form a transparent circle round it. These 
changes take place both in the impregnated and in the unimpregnated 
egg. The first visible effect of the impregnation takes place after the 
lapse of a few hours. In the middle of the disk a faint furrow is seen, 
which gradually becomes deeper, till at last it divides the disk into two 
symmetrical halves. After this furrow has become somewhat less 
marked, another one appears in each of the halves, striking the first one 
perpendicularly, by which process the disk is divided into four divisions 
of a spherical shape. Each one of these is again divided, so that there 
are eight divisions, and these again into sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four, 
&c, divisions. Finally the disk becomes divided into so many divisions, 
and these divisions become so small, that the surface of the disk seems 
just as smooth as at first. With this process the first period in the devel- 
opment of the egg terminates. It has continued about four days, (112 
hours.) Nothing as yet can be seen of the fcetus, and the disk has only 
just been prepared to produce it. 

The second period commences by the disk's upper side, which is turned 
towards the yelk, and which till then has been quite flat, rising like a 
watch glass in the direction of the yelk, so that it assumes the shape of 
a strongly convex lens, one half of which stretches into the yelk, while 
the other half is outside. In the middle it has a thin circular rim, 
outside of which numerous small globular bodies can be discerned, 
arranged like a wreath round it. These seem to be some of the small 
particles produced by the last dividing process, which have been 
loosened from the disk and are floating about in the clear oily border 
surrounding it. When that part of the disk which is protruded into 
the yelk has reached its greatest height, which is often much greater 
thau the outer part, it begins to collapse, but in such a manner that the 
process is completed more rapidly on one side than on the other. At 
this place it becomes more compact, and here it is that the foetus is 


first seen. The disk, therefore, which orginally had a flat and then a 
convex upper side, now begins to be considerably hollowed out in the 
middle, so that, at last, it presents the shape of a thin helmet-like cov- 
ering round the lower part of the yelk. Seen from below, the egg now 
shows the disk consisting of two leaves, (the vegetative and the animal,) 
an inner lighter zone, and a more compact circular rim, which soou 
appears on that side, where the above-mentioned thickening took place, 
broader and more compact than on the other sides. During the further 
development, the disk (statoblast) rapidly increases in size, encircling a 
larger and larger portion of the yelk ; the outer rim produces a triangu- 
lar continuation turned inside, which with its lower pointed end, gradu- 
ally approaches the lower part of the egg : so that the inner lighter zone 
of the disk assumes more and more the shape of a crescent. In this 
continuation the incipient embryo can very soon be seen quite distinctly, 
even before the disk has surrounded half of the yelk. First, a faint 
longitudinal elevation is observed, thicker at the lower end, on the 
sides of which two hemispherical projections can be seen indistinctly. 
This longitudinal elevation is the spinal marrow of the embryo 5 the 
lower and more compact portion is the head, or, properly speaking, the 
brain j and the two lateral projections are the beginning of the eyes. 
During the eighth day after the impregnation, the disk may be seen 
surrounding the whole of the yelk with the exception of a small portion 
of the upper part, which appears like a ring-shaped opening surrounded 
by a thicker edge. At the same time the triangular continuation has 
become considerably elongated and has assumed the form of a narrow 
ribbon, which stretches almost from one end of the egg to the other. 
On the inside of this ribbon, but in the upper portion of it, the embryo 
is now seen quite distinctly, the extremity of the tail being in immediate 
connection with the disk, or rather with the ring encircling it. 

The third period in the development of the egg may properly be placed 
as the time when the disk or skin has completely enveloped the yelk. 
This phenomenon is accompanied by other essential phases of the devel- 
opment, as several organs of the embryo, which before this could not be 
seen, now first begin to show themselves, such as the lens of the eye, 
the chorda dorsalis, the ear-bladders, the liver, the breast-fins, and the 
heart. The beginning of the heart is seen by a faint swelling in the 
region of the neck back of the eyes, in which a small circular bladder 
is perceived, which, however, as yet shows no sign of any movement. 
This bladder soon changes into a hollow cone placed obliquely on the 
embryo, and shows a few irregular contractions, till at last it commences 
its peculiar rhythmical movements. At the same time may be noticed 
the first movements of the embryo itself inside the egg. These, at first, 
consist of a faint, almost imperceptible trembling, which at greater or 
less intervals is repeated in a more energetic manner. The pigment 
now begins to show itself distinctly on the iris of the eyes in the shape 
of small dots, and on the rest of the body as irregular stripes. The 


young fish has meanwhile grown so much, that its body already shows 
a complete circular bend following the outlines of the egg^ so that the 
tail-end, which is now surrounded by a membrane clearly perceived, 
(the embryonal fin,) reaches to the mouth, and later, even somewhat 
beyond it. 

At the end of the sixteenth day, the young fish is ready to slip out of 
the egg. Its movements inside the egg have now become so powerful, 
that it frequently assumes an entirely different position from that which 
it had at first. The iris is completely colored and even shows traces of 
that peculiar silvery gloss which is so prominent in the more developed 
fish. It has a deep incision in its lower rim which only gradually dis- 
appears. The pigment of the body is diffused in such a manner that it 
appears in larger quantities at the root of the breast-fins and along the 
upper side of the entrails ; also on the back part of the body, where it 
forms two dark ribbons, consisting of numerous star-shaped dots, which 
remain unchanged long after the fish has left the egg. At last the skin of 
theegg bursts, and the young fish slowly frees itself from the remnants still 
clinging to it. At first the body has still the bent shape which it had while 
inclosed in the egg, but finally it straightens, and the young fish moves 
about with its special tremulous motions. It has now that peculiar un- 
developed appearance so characteristic of all young fish, and so different 
from that of the adult. This peculiar appearance is chiefly produced by 
the large yelk-bag still clinging to it, and which is arranged so as to fur- 
nish its only supply of food, till the mouth has opened and the intestinal 
channels have formed themselves into a closed tube, connecting with 
the mouth. The body is very thin and tender, and with the exception 
of the above-mentioned pigment gatherings, almost entirely colorless, 
showing distinctly in the middle the chorda dorsalis, and on both sides 
of this the regularly-arranged muscles of the body. The front part of 
the body still shows a faint downward bend, a reminiscence of the foetal 
curve ; the head projects sharply from the rest of the body, looks as if 
it were swollen, and has a round shape, the mouth, or rather the region 
of the forehead, projecting a little. On the upper side of the yelk- bag 
can be seen the intestinal channel. It is still almost entirely straightl 
and terminates at about one-third part of the body, or in that place 
where the back part of the yelk-bag is closed. At its foremost end, 
which is bent somewhat to the right, a round fine-grained mass is seen, 
which is the liver; and immediately above this are, on each side, the 
round breast-fins, turned upward, and transparent as clear water. The 
body is surrounded by a transparent membrane, which begins immedi- 
ately above the mouth and stretches round the whole body as far as the 
yelk-bag. Its foremost part is widened out to a sort of cap, while toward 
the tail it is strongly compressed ; and while the auimal is in motion 
this takes the place of those fins which are still wanting. The yelk-bag 
now begins gradually to collapse, and at the same time begins the forma- 
tion of the mouth by the lower jaw, which formerly was firmly joined to 


the upper one, becoming gradually detached from it. When the yelk- 
bag has become completely absorbed, which takes place about two weeks 
after the slipping out of the young fish, the mouth is already distinctly 
developed, but as yet of a shape very different from that of the grown 
fish, as the lower jaw, as in the case of those deformed fishes called 
" cod-fish kings," projects considerably beyond the upper one, which 
rises quite straight. The young fish now already shows its peculiar 
gulping movements, and eagerly snaps after microscopical animals and 
algae. It is no longer so much exposed to the currents and the wiuds as 
formerly, when the yelk-bag kept it up on the surface of the water, but 
often makes short excursions to a considerable depth, in order to hunt 
small animals, with which the sea at this time is swarming. The changes 
that follow are chiefly in the inner organs ; thus the bile develops itself 
distinctly; the blood, which at first was entirely colorless, assumes a 
faint yellowish tinge, and can be seen circulating through the body in 
regular courses; the intestinal channel has increased in length, and in or- 
der to find room, must describe one or several convolutions; the shoulder 
girdle is already distinctly developed, &c. In the most advanced stages 
of development which I observed, and which took place in the beginning 
of May, the body was less transparent, and showed, especially on the 
head, a distinct yellow color. The distribution of the pigment was also 
somewhat uneven, being most distinctly visible on the upper side of the 
head and along the back and the belly, The intestinal channel, in which 
a wider fore part, (the stomach,) and a thinner loop-shaped and bent 
hind part, (the entrails,) could already be distinguished, showed yellow- 
ish contents, changing into green in the hind part. In the region of the 
heart, the blood had already a distinct red color. Near the hind part of 
the body, on the lower side, some fine rays showed themselves in the 
embryonal membrane, as the first sign of the tail-fin beginning to form 
under the extremity of the chorda dorsalis. 

My observations on the development of the cod-fish extend no further 
than this; but I hope next year to be able to continue them through all 
those interesting changes through which the young fish passes before it 
becomes fully mature. 

I must remark, iu conclusion, that the above-mentioned peculiarity 
in the roe of the cod-fish, viz, that it develops swimming free in the sea, 
occurs also in the roe of other fish. During my last stay on the Lofo- 
ten Islands, I caught, also, with the aid of a fine net, the roe of three 
other different kinds of fish, entirely unknown to me, and floating in the 
sea in exactly the same manner. I am convinced, too, that this is also 
the case with the roe of the haddock, (Gadus ccglejinus,) which spawus 
about the same time as the cod-fish. On the whole, this may indeed be 
the case with a much larger number of salt-water fish than is generally 
supposed. I consider ic, in all probability, applicable to the whole large 
cod-fish family, and on closer investigation it may be found to extend 
even much further than this. 



The following note, in continuation of the preceding investigation, 
from Professor Sars to Professor Agassiz, was published by Mr. Theo- 
dore Lyman, in the report of the Massachusetts commissioners of fish- 
eries for 1871 : 

H It was my intention to continue the investigation of the young of 
the winter-cod, which I had pursued the previous year. I then showed 
that the fish often considered as a separate species, and known on the 
northwest coast of Norway by the names of smaagjed, tarefisk, and 
grundfisk, is nothing but the young of the winter-cod. I further ob- 
served that the great variations in color are only the effects of different 
bottom and different food. 

" It was my task this year to follow the further development of the 
smaagied during the summer. The conditions were now quite different ; 
for whereas during the winter I could, from a boat or from the beach, 
easily study my objects, now the fish had retired to the deep water and 
could only be got by hook and line — a difficult matter, by reason of the 
scarcity of bait, for the muscle rocks had been ransacked by the winter 
fishermen, and herring were not to be had. Beginning on the 20th of 
May, at a place called Skraaven, I set my line in 20 to 30 fathoms water, 
in the sandy channels of the outer holms, but got only fish too large to 
be yearlings. I then set in the * sculls } near the rocks, and took great 
numbers of small cod, corresponding perfectly with the tarefisk, and 
which were colored of a brownish-red by the tare or rock-weed, (Lamin- 
aria.) These sculls are very dangerous to approach, especially in the 
winter-time, and are characterized by a periodic ground-breaker. The 
sea will appear perfectly tranquil for a time, when suddenly there will 
arise gently, over the scull, a low, broad pyramid of water, which as 
gently descends, and again the surface is unruffled. The wary fisher- 
men mark well these upliftings, and keep the boat away from them. 
Presently you observe that the pyramid has again risen, but with in- 
creased size and with smoke curling from its apex ; there is a sort of for- 
ward pushing motion and a sullen roar, and in an instant the sea rises in 
a vast, glittering, green bank, capped with devouring foam. With a 
fearful crash it precipitates itself to the very bottom, leaving a great 
circle of white froth. Your boat, safe in the offing, is lifted high on a 
huge wave, and the distant thunder on the beach announces that the 
great breaker has struck. The hapless boat that gets caught over one 
of these sculls is dashed in a hundred pieces against the rock bottom. 
These violent periodic ground-breakers are what attract the smaagjed, 
for they wash out the small crabs from their hiding-places among the 
sea- weed, and the young cod, dashing forward with the returning sea, 
devour them greedily. I thought now I should get plenty of yearlings 
on the sea-weed ground during the whole season, but I was mistaken. 
Toward the end of June they almost wholly disappeared from that lo- 


cality, and were captured only near sandy channels. Their color, too, 
changed from the red- brown of the sea- weed to a fine greenish, with 
silvery sides. In their stomachs were found quantities of siil, (Ammo- 
dytes lancea — sand-eel,) which now were approaching the coast, and the 
tarefisk had evidently left the crustucea to prey upon them. The siil, 
less common and important in Southern Norway, is abundant on the 
northwest coast, and is held in high* esteem. Although too slender to 
be captured in nets, it is taken by a large, coarsely woven cloth, worked 
by several boats. This cloth is slipped under a school of siil, and the 
corners being raised the catch is dumped into one of the boats and piled 
in heaps on the shore. These heaps are left there without further care, 
and the mass, half putrid, is accounted good food by the inhabitants, and 
is also served to animals. The cod are more dainty, and will not touch 
stale fish of any kind. Therefore, the siil for the fishery are got by dig- 
ging in the sand where they have buried themselves, and where, at this 
season, they deposit their spawn. I took in the sanely channels plenty 
of cod, of one, two, and three years ; also some very large * siiclod,' three 
feet long, and these I saw were the same as the * winter-cod/ except 
that the spawn was but little developed. At this season, also, came the 
sei, (Gadus caroonarius — pollack.) It was a singular spectacle to watch 
the sea-mews sitting in solemn lines and in perfect silence along the rock 
ledges, their heads all at one angle. Suddenly, as if by common im- 
pulse, they would spread their wings, and with a shrill cry hasten toward 
a foamy surface on the sea. This was occasioned by the sei, which had 
rushed to the surface in pursuit of a school of siil, and the birds were 
coming to share the prey. Thither, too, came the fishermen and trolled 
with artificial minuows, taking, strange to say, some cod with their other 
fish, which shows that cod occasionally are attracted to the surface. 
Later in the season, the cod refused siil, which seemed to be because 
they were in pursuit of the young herrings, then abundant in Vest- 
fjord." . 


By Axel Botcck. 

As is well known, of all fisheries those on the coasts of Norway are the 
largest, and a great portion of the population of our extended coast is 
dependent on them for their living. But while all the other great fish- 
eries on the coast of Norway have been carried on from time immemo- 
rial, their origin being so much enveloped in obscurity that our ances- 
tors supposed that the gods themselves had taught men fishing, the 
lobster-fishery, which in our days is of such great importance, has origi- 
nated in a later historical time, and has since developed, till it is now 
more extensive than all the other known lobster-fisheries, and supplies 
not only Norway, but also the neighboring countries. Although we 
will see, as I shall show later, that the. lobster has been known in Nor- 
way even in olden times, it had during the Middle Ages scarcely ever been 
used as an article of food in the northern countries. Lobster-fisheries 
are not spoken of in the Sagas or in the Old Laws j and even now, although 
the lobster has been caught on our coast for several centuries, it is but 
rarely, if ever, eaten by our fishermen, and only the higher classes seem 
to like its flavor. 

The scientific name of the loster is Homarus gammarus Linn., from 
the Latin name gammarus, which again comes from the Greek word 
xa/ifj.apoq. The Italians call it Gambare di mare, and the Spaniards Craba- 
jo, both of which names evidently come from the Latin. The Illyrians 
call it Caranthola. It does not seem certain whether the Norwegian and 
German name Hummer and the French name Homar can be derived from 
gammarus, as our name is very old, and may have its root in the Old 
Norse verb homa, which means to go backward. The English name 
lobster is only a modification of the name longusta, applied to a closely- 
related genus, which is specially found in the Mediterranean ; and the 
Dutch name Zeekruft simply means a sea-crawfish. In our Sagas, espe- 
cially in their poetical portions, it is often mentioned. In Snorre's Ed- 
da, in the song Skaldskaparsmal, (chapter 75 of the Copenhagen edi- 
tion,) it is mentioned among fish and other marine animals. In Olaf den 
Helliges Saga, it is mentioned in a song of Bjorn Heldoleksempe, where 
the sea is poetically described as w the paths of the lobster." In a sim- 
ilar poetical sense, the word is used in Olaf Trygvesens Saga, chapter 
8S, by the Skjald Thord Kolbeinsson, where he says that u the wave- 

* Om det norske Hummerfiske og dets Hsitorie. Af Axel Boeck : in " Tidsskrift for 
Fiskeri," 3die Aargangs, Kjobenhavn, pp. 28-43, 1868 j pp. 145-189, 1869. 


horses run over the fields of the lobster," meaning the ships that sail on 
the waves of the sea. In a song by Snigly Holle, in Harald Haardraa- 
des Saga, chapter 105, the expression " to be at the bottom with the lob- 
ster w is used for drowning. In the Selkolle Songs of Einar Gilson, in 
Bishop Gndmunds Saga, the term u the light of the lobster," equiva- 
lent to the fire of the sea, or gold, is used. In the same place, the expres- 
sion " the horse of the lobster mountain," meaning the ship, is used. 
Finally, there is found in the poem Liknar-braut, the expression u land 
lobster," meaning a serpent or dragon. 

The lobster belongs to the class of crustaceans, and among them to 
the highest section, the so-called order of decapods, which embrace short- 
tailed (brachyura) and long-tailed (macrura) species. The lobster has 
a great similarity to the common crawfish, (Asiacus fluviatilis,) living 
in brooks and small rivers, but is distinguished from it by having the 
last segment of the thorax united with the preceding one, while in 
Astacus it is separate. It was therefore considered by Milne-Edwards 
to be the type of a new genus Homarus. Of this genus, the repre- 
sentatives of which live exclusively in the sea, three species are known, 
viz : Homarus americanus Say, i. e., the American lobster, which is con- 
siderably larger than our common lobster, and is fouud on the coasts of 
North America. From this the European Homarus gammarus is only 
distinguished by having a narrower spine on its forehead, and teeth 
only on its upper margin, while the former species has also teeth on 
the lower margin. There is finally the little Homarus capensis, from the 
Cape of Good Hope, which is not more than five inches long. The 
European lobster seems to have its central location on the southwestern 
coast of Norway, and goes as far north as Finmarken, where, according 
to Lem, in his description of the Finmarken Laplanders, 1767, it is found 
north of Traenen, where he ate very fine ones on the island of Eodo, 
while formerly their northern limit was thought to be the island of 
Brondo, but he also thinks that they would be found in Finmarken, 
if people only searched for them. It is very rarely found on the 
coasts of Iceland, where, according to Mohr's "Islandske Naturhistorie," 
it has been found by Dr. Poulsen in Grondevig,but it does not extend to 
Greenland or Spitsbergen. It does not go into the Baltic, but is fouud 
all over the Kattegat, especially near Anholt, Hirsholmene, Laeso, and 
Hjelm, and, according to Mr. Fiedler's report, in the Great Belt as far 
as Sprogo. On the coast of Bohuslen it is very common, and is said to 
go into the Sound as far as the island of Hveen. On the west coast of 
Jutland, it is found wherever the bottom is stony, and it is very com- 
mon near Heligoland. It rarely goes into the inlets on our western 
coasts, chiefly on account of their great depth. It is very rare in the 
inner portion of the Bay of Ghristiania, and not very common in the 
Limfiord. On the coasts of England, Scotl'ind, and Ireland, it is common 
wherever there is a rocky bottom, especially near Montrose, Orkney, 
Lewis, and Harris Island, and on the southern coast of England, 


near Land's-end and the SciHy Islands. Near the Channel Islands, 
it is common, as well as near several groups of islands on the French 
coast. In the Mediterranean, it is not so common, although it is not 
entirely wanting; but its substitute as an article of food is another 
large species of crawfish, the Langusta (Palinurus). It is therefore not 
spread over a very large extent of sea ; but it is found in its central lo- 
cations in very large numbers, and there becomes an important article 
of food and trade. 

Its general size is 8 to 10 inches from the point of the spine on the 
forehead to the tip end of the tail.* It rarely exceeds this size where 
large fisheries are carried on ; but now and then specimens of a much 
greater size are found in places from which none are exported, and 
where it consequently has time to grow before it is caught. Thus, 
Pontoppidan, in his " Norges naturlige Historie," part ii, p. 279, says 
that the very large lobsters are called "Storjer," and that near Utvaer, 
on the Bay of Evien, a lobster had been seen which was so large and 
ugly that nobody dared to attack it, and that it measured a full fathom 
between the claws. This seems certainly to be somewhat exaggerated ; 
but I myself have seen the claw of one which must have been about 18 
inches long. Sir John Graham Dalyell says, in his work " The Powers of 
the Creator," 1827, that he had seen a joint of the left claw of a lobster 
that measured 9 inches in length. According to this, the whole claw 
must have measured 18 to 24 inches, and the whole animal 3 to 4 feet. 
As a general rule, those that are taken in the fiords are larger than those 
which are caught near the islands toward the sea. The color of the 
animal when alive is generally a blackish green, with several blue spots j 
but it may also be lighter, especially near the mouths of fiords, while 
farther out toward the sea it becomes much darker. I may mention aa 
a curiosity that during this year (1868) I found a lobster near Hauge- 
sund, one half of which was of a greenish black and the other of a light 
orange color, there being a sharp and clearly-defined dividing line, 
which ran lengthwise, and divided the lobster in two halves of equal 

The lobster lives close to the coast, where there is a rocky bottom, 
among the large algse ; but in winter, when the water grows cooler, it 
descends as far down as 16 to 20 fathoms, while in spring, when the 
temperature of the sea rises, it stays at a depth of from 1 to 4 fathoms. 
It is altogether a coast-animal, which very rarely seems to go any dis- 
tance from its birth-place, if it can readily find there a sufficient supply 
of food. Sometimes, however, they have been seen in large masses 
swimming toward the land from the sea, and they have then been 
caught in nets, having been mistaken for a school of herrings ; but this 
is only a consequence of local migrations, when it goes from the deeper 
into the shallower waters. It is not able to make its way through the 

* In the Kattegat, on the eastern coast of Jutland, it reaches a larger size than on 
the western coast, generally 10 inches. — Ed. 
15 F 


sea for any length of time by swimming. Its structure certainly allows 
it to make quick and definite movements, and it can swim freely about 
in the sea, but this swimming never lasts long, as it cannot keep itself 
afloat very long. Neither is it able, while swimming, to catch and 
swallow its food 5 but it seizes its prey only when it can hold on to 
something. At the bottom of the sea it can chase its prey, if necessary, 
with great rapidity, but while eating it remains quite still. The lobster 
is a very greedy animal, and can swallow great quantities of food, which 
it seems to find especially during the night by its scent, while during 
the day it keeps quiet and digests. Its food consists chiefly of tHe roe 
of fish and of dead fish, but likewise of small crustaceans and other 
marine animals. When kept in confinement, it can live for a consider- 
able time without food. The lobster seems to be able to propagate 
when it is a little more than 6 inches long, (at least, roe is only found in 
animals of this size;) but when the lobster reaches a length of 8 inches 
it contains a great quantity of roe. A real act of copulation takes 
place, the male lobster placiug its double male member into the outer 
genital opening of the female ; and the eggs are impregnated while they 
are yet in the ovary. This pairing seems to take place from autumn 
to spring or March and April, for it is highly probable that the roe is 
emitted from the ovaries immediately after the copulation has taken 
place, just as with other crustaceans; and the emitted roe is. found 
entirely during winter. After impregnation, the eggs are emitted from 
the outer genital openings of the female, which are found at the bases 
of the third pair of feet, but do not fall into the water, as they are held in 
a hollow which is formed by the bent tail, which, both at the end and on 
the sides, has leaf-shaped fringes that inclose the space formed by the 
bending of the tail. Under this tail, there is fastened a double row of 
the so-called tail-feet, to which the eggs are strung by strong slimy 
strings. The embryo now begins to develop in these eggs, which are 
quite numerous, 2,001) to 3,000 in one female, according to the size, and 
occasionally as many as 10,000 to 12,000. The formation of the embryo 
does not, however, seem to begin till the temperature of the water has 
become milder in spring, even if the pairing should have taken 
place in autumn or winter; for, although loose roe is often found in 
winter, it is never seen in any degree developed into an embryo. This 
pairing and the development of the roe seem to take place at different 
times on the different portions of the coast ; for the fishermen them- 
selves, who have such an excellent opportunity of observing them, are 
not agreed as to the actual time. The development of the embryo 
seems to take at least fourteen days from the time of commencement, 
and it can easily be observed till the young break the shells of the eggs 
and begin to lead an independent life. When the young lobster comes 
out of the egg, it measures only a few lines in length, and does not at all 
resemble the old lobster, but has a different structure. It does not 
leave the hollow under its mother's tail immediately after being hatched, 


but lives there for some time, and later frequently returns to it. It is 
particularly distinguished by a less complete development of its feelers 
and tail-feet, and by the feet being exceedingly small but furnished with 
long brush-like branches, with which it swims vigorously on the surface 
of the water. After having spent some time in this state, it changes its 
skin several times and assumes the shape of its mother, when it goes 
to the bottom. Its life from this moment till it reaches a size of 5 to 6 
inches is entirely unknown ; for no young lobsters have been caught, 
either by fishermen or scientists,* the smallest having been found in 
the stomach of the torsk, so that it is probable that they spend this 
portion of their life at a greater depth and live in a different manner 
and on other food than at a later period. There can, therefore, not be 
any artificial hatching of lobsters in the sense of artificial fish-hatching, 
but all that can be done is to keep the lobster imprisoned during the 
development of the eggs, and thus protect it from the dangers which 
threaten it and its young. It is impossible to do anything for the tender 
young, as they die very soon when confined. I see, however, that sev- 
eral persons in France, and Mr. von Eris, in the lagoons of Triest, near 
Grado, have hatched several millions of young lobsters by keeping 
lobsters with ripe roe at the bottom of the sea in perforated boxes. 

After the lobster has emitted its roe, and the young have left the 
mother, she begins to shed. She, therefore, goes to safe places, and 
does not seem to care much for food, while the old skin is being loos- 
ened ; the shell finally opens in the back, and the animal goes into the 
water naked. It then looks as if it was covered with velvet, on ac- 
count of the considerable formation of cells which is going on all over 
its surface. These cells afterward grow hard through small particles 
of lime and form the new shell. This shedding of the shell goes on 
from the middle of July till September, but not at the same time 
all along the coast, being earlier in the southern and later in the north- 
ern part. The lobster thus gets sick, as it is called, toward the end of 
June near Sogndal, and the export must then cease, as the mortality 
among them becomes too great, while near Karmo it is still in a healthy 
condition till July 15. Farther north, the shedding of the shell begins 
still later, and lobster may be caught all through July. 

The greatest enemy of the lobster, and who sensibly diminishes its 
numbers, is man. When swimming near the surface during its youth, 
with a number of other small crustaceans, it becomes a welcome prey to 
the herring and the mackerel. As the grown lobster keeps at no great 
depth, and where large fish of prey are not commonly found, it is not 
much exposed to them, but occasionally, when lying near the surface, it 
is taken by large birds of prey. An interesting scene may be witnessed 
near Bukkeuo, north of Stavanger, where an Englishman has construct- 

* The development of the lobster has, since the original publication of this memoir, 
been tftudied by Mr. S. I. Smith, of Yale College, and Prof. Japetus Stoenstmp, of Co- 
penhagen. — Ed. 


ed a large pond, between some small islands, for keeping live lobsters. 
Whenever the pond becomes too full of lobsters, so that they do not 
find sufficient food, they leave the water, and crawl about seeking 
to reach the sea; but during their wanderings they fall an easy prey to 
large numbers of crows hovering round, which take them in their claws, 
fly high up, and let the unfortunate lobster drop down on the rocks, 
where their shells are broken, so that the crows can eat them in comfort. 
The crows are not easily scared away, but show a remarkable degree of 
sense, only flying away when any one approaches with fire-arms, and 
later they carry on their depredations in the early morning, when they 
have less to fear. 


Formerly, the lobster was caught on our sea-coasts exclusively with 
tongs. These tongs were made of wood, and had about the same shape as 
the common oyster-poles, being only somewhat longer, generally two 
fathoms. Such an implement was exhibited at the Bergen Exposition 
of 1865, and an illustration of it is given in the report. As these tongs 
were not very long, lobsters could not be caught at any great depth — 
only at a depth of little more than a fathom — and this sort of fishing 
was carried on during the early morning hours. But as lobsters taken 
with these tongs often got hurt, and died two to three days afterward, 
because they cannot stand any pressure, this implement was not suited 
for those that were to be exported ; and the Dutch, after the peace of 
Westphalia, when the lobster- fisheries began to assume larger dimen- 
sions, endeavored to induce the fishermen to use other and better im- 
plements. Although baskets, through the influence of the Dutch, had 
thus become common in the neighborhood of Stavanger since 1717, 
tongs have been frequently used even in our century, and are perhaps 
in some places used to this day. Kryger, in his report on Ous, in the 
" BudstiMen " (a periodical) for 1820, mentions that lobsters were caught 
there with tongs for home-consumption. Farther north, tongs seem 
to have been the common implements for catching lobsters at a much 
later period ; for, in the quinquennial report of the governor of the Eoms- 
dal district for 1840-'44, it is said that "lobsters are taken with tongs, 
baskets not being thought to answer the purpose." Lobsters were 
caught with tongs by small boys from ten to fourteen years of age, 
early in the morning, in calm weather, and, if successful, one night might 
yield an income of $2.25. Another very simple implement for catching 
lobsters is spoken of in the " BudstiJeken" by Strom, who says that 
lobsters are taken with a hook fastened to a pole, which hook is in- 
serted in the belly, the softest part cf the lobster. With this instru- 
ment, it cannot be taken at any great depth, and only when the sea is 
calm so that the bottom can be seen. Lobsters caught in this manner 
.cannot be exported, as they could not stand the journey. The imple- 


merits which I am going to at once describe, and which have almost 
entirely supplanted the simpler ones, are used by enticing the lobster 
with bait into a trap, out of which it cannot escape. The simplest 
of these traps is seldom used with us, although, according to Oetlcer, it 
seems to be in common use near Heligoland. It consists of a very 
thick iron ring, to which a net is fastened, so as to form a deep bag below 
The bait is placed at the bottom of the bag, and it is lowered and taken 
up by means of a long line, which, when the bag is at the bottom, 
reaches up to the surface. To this line, a piece of wood is fastened, which 
floats on the water, and shows the location of the trap. If this instru- 
ment has been lying at the bottom for half an hour in a place where 
lobsters are known to abound, a sudden jerk is given to the line, so as 
to cause the Jobster to fall in the bag, and it is rapidly pulled up. (The 
most successful time of the day for catching lobsters is generally in the 
morning or also between 11.30 a. m. and 3.30 p. m. With this instru- 
ment, which the English call " plumpers," and the Germans "Fallenkor- 
ber," lobsters are taken in deep places.) With us the commonest imple- 
ments for catching lobsters are baskets (" Tej7ier"). It seems certain 
that the Dutch first introduced them for catching lobsters; but they 
may have been used long before that, e.g., for eels, as the narrfe is Scan- 
dinavian, and is derived from " tun," i. e., the long and tough roots of the 
juniper-tree. After 1713, a beginning was made in plaiting them of 
willow-branches. Where these materials could not be readily obtained, 
they were, as Pontoppidan related in 1753, made of hoops, which were 
kept apart by chips of wood. All round these, nets are fastened, and at 
each end there is a long, narrow, trough-shaped entrance, out of which, 
the lobster cannot escape. On the one side, there is a trap-door, which 
can be closed with a peg, and to another pin sticking in the basket the 
bait is fastened, while under the basket there are large stones to make 
it sink rapidly. To one of the uppermost chips of wood, a pair of tongs 
is fastened, furnished at the end with a piece of wood to indicate the 
location of the basket. Such are still in common use all along our 
coast. Still earlier, in 1746, the famous naturalist, Carl Linne, described 
similar baskets, which he saw in use on the coast of Bohuslen, in his 
" West-Gota Kesa," p. 191. These were two yards long, one yard broad, 
and one yard high, resembling a half-cylinder, with entrances on both 
sides ; such are still used and could be seen at the Bergen Exposition. 
At this same exposition, a basket was exhibited, differing somewhat from 
these in its shape ; it was plaited of branches, and was shaped like a 
hemisphere, with an entrance at the top. An illustration of this basket 
is given in the report on the exposition. 

Lobster-fishing is carried on at different seasons on different parts of 
the coast of Norway. It generally begins in spring, but in some places, 
e. g., near Christianssand, it continues all winter. Farther south the 
spring fisheries begin earlier; thus, on the coast from Sireaa to Jaedder in 
the middle or toward the end of March, as the lobsters then begin to go 


into shallower waters. From Karmo to Espevaer, the fisheries begin in 
April, and farther north, near Strandsuud, in the beginning of May. Near 
the Jsedder, which is farther south, but where the coast is not so flat and 
convenient, the fisheries commence much later. The fisheries are con- 
tinued through the following months, but cease in the first-mentioned 
district in the middle or toward the end of June, while in the others, 
near Stavanger and the Southern Bergen district, they are continued 
till the middle of June, and farther north till the first of August. When 
the fisheries are to commence, the fishermen go to the outer islands near 
the open sea, where the fisheries are richest, and live in sheds built for the 
purpose, duriug the whole week from Monday on, returning with the 
lobsters on Saturday, fishing thus going on for five days each week. 
Two men generally club together and have thirty to fifty, baskets. In 
the evening, the baskets are furnished with bait, consisting of all sorts 
of fish except herring and mackerel ; for they claim to have noticed that 
lobsters caught with bait of the last-mentioned kind do not live long. 
The baskets are then placed in the sea at a depth varying from 16 to 2 
fathoms, according to the season of the year, and taken out before sun- 
rise. The baskets can also be put in position when the tide comes in, 
and be t&ken up when it goes out. As soon as the lobster is taken 
from the basket, its claws are tied together with strong twine, and 
it is placed either into a box perforated with many holes, or into a 
larger basket, which is then sunk in the water near the coast. Here 
the lobsters remain till Saturday morning, when they are taken out and 
brought to the dealers, from whom the fishermen immediately receive 
their pay. Every lobster which measures more than 8 inches from the 
spine on its forehead to the tip end of its tail, and whose claws are perfect, 
is called a " full man f but if it measures somewhat less, or if portions 
of its claws are missing, it is called " half a man," and only fetches half 
the price of the others. The dealers, who collect the lobsters on the coast, 
pack them in large boats that can hold as many as 2,000, cover them up 
with sea-weeds to protect them against the sun, and send them to the 
chief depot, where they are immediately placed in special boxes. 
These boxes differ somewhat among themselves; the best are about 
3 yards long, 2 J yards broad, and 18 inches high, and perforated 
by numerous holes, so as to constantly admit fresh water. These 
boxes hold about 400 lobsters each. Formerly, they were not so 
high, but then the mortality among them was greater, especially in bad 
weather, when the rain adulterated the water in the box. In other places, 
these boxes are perfectly square, measuring four yards each way, and 
hold about 500 to 800 lobsters. After the lobsters have arrived at the 
chief depot, they must always rest for some hours in the box, before 
they are placed on board the vessels, as they are sick from the long 
voyage in open boats without water. Every Saturday, an English lob- 
ster-vessel comes to the depot, begins to take its cargo in the evening, 
and gets through with this Sunday afternoon, whereupon it immediately 


goes out to sea. Ill this manner, the fishery has been arranged for more 
than one hundred and fifty years, as it seems, by the Dutch, of which more 
will be said under the history of the fishery. Nowadays, the fisher- 
men receive a far higher price for their lobsters than formerly, and as 
a general rule they get in Stavanger and Bergen from '4 to 4J cents 
apiece, but farther north they are cheaper. Formerly, when the price 
in Stavanger was lower, about one-half cent extra was given for every 
lobster caught before the middle of May, but this custom has been aban- 
doned. The dealers who receive the lobsters from the fishermen receive 
about GO cents as box-money for every thousand, and 20 to 25 cents for 
every hundred they bring to the chief depot for every full mile they 
travel with them. The wholesale dealers receive the same box-money, but 
besides $3 as weekly money. If they do not keep any boxes themselves, 
but receive them from the lobster-company, the retail dealers get $3 for 
every thousand, and the wholesale dealers $4.50 for every thousand, 
but, in that case, no week-money. When the lobster-vessels go to sea, 
they always go straight over to England, to Grimsby and Harwich, 
while formerly they went to London, anchoring near Greenwich in the 
evening, unloading the lobsters during the night, and taking them to 
London, where they arrived in the Billingsgate market before sunrise. 
Now the vessels, on arriving in one of the above-mentioned ports, go 
into the dock, which is specially intended for them, and the lobsters are 
unloaded into the fish-boxes belonging to the dock, which are rented out 
for one English shilling a day. These fish-boxes are shaped like a boat, 
are 11 yards long and 5 feet broad, but have a flat bottom. They 
are hoisted up so that the water runs off, and the lobsters are sent in 
suitable baskets by railroad to Billingsgate. Sometimes they are sorted 
in the ports, but this is mostly done in London. The largest lobsters 
are picked out, and twenty are always packed in a basket, which gets a 
black stroke as a mark. The smaller ones are packed forty in a basket, 
and get two strokes as a mark, while the smallest are packed sixty in a 
box, and get three strokes as a mark. The baskets with one stroke are 
more valuable than those with two and three, although these latter con- 
tain more lobsters. The wholesale dealers in the market get them from 
the railroad and sort them, and they then pass over to the fishmongers. 
These boil them, and send the finest to their best customers in the city 
and the country, while the small ones are sold in the city to cheap res 
taurants and private individuals. 

In the Billingsgate market, the lobsters meet their brethren from the 
English, Scotch, and other coasts. From the south coast of England, 
they come by the Southwestern Eailway, and by the Great Western 
from Bristol, to which ports they have come from Guernsey and Jersey, 
the Scilly Islands, and Land's-End. From Scotland, the Orkney Islands, 
and Lewis Island about 180,000 come every year, partly in steamers ; 
from Ireland, they come by way of Liverpool ; while a smaller number 
come from Sweden and Heligoland. All these are gathered in the 


Billingsgate market, and are thence distributed from March to August. 
Not all are consumed in England, but a portion are again sent away, 
especially to France. 

I have mentioned that the coast is divided into certain districts, and 
that in these there are certain stations for the retail and wholesale 
dealers, from which the lobsters are shipped, and w T here the government 
custom-house officers are stationed, as great facilities are afforded to this 
trade in the way of customs, &c, of which I shall speak more under 
the history of the fisheries. Of these districts, the first, the most east- 
erly one, extends from Faerder to Mardo, but from this district none 
are at present exported to England. The same is partly the case in 
the second district, which extends from Mardo to Cape Lindesnaes, 
although some are placed dry in boxes and sent by steamer to London 
and Hamburg. In this manner, lobsters are also shipped from the next 
district, which extends from Cape Lindesnaes to Snaekken, the chief 
place from which they are exported in this district being Kirkehavn. 
The lobsters are placed in the boxes in several layers, the tail being 
bent under the stomach. The boxes are then closed, and the lobsters 
keep alive for a considerable time. Formerly, they were from these dis- 
tricts also exported in barrels; but this was discontinued twenty 
years ago. The next district extends from Stavanger, near the river 
Sire to Vig. 

[A following half-page defines the exact location of the different dis- 
tricts. — Transl.J 

Nearly all the lobsters which are shipped from Norway are sent alive. 
Pontoppidan relates that in his time — the middle of the last century — 
some were salted just before being shipped, but this custom seems to 
have been subsequently abandoned, as so many lobsters died during 
the voyage. In this century, Mr. Jacob Morch, a Christiania merchant, 
tried the plan of putting them up in hermetically-closed receptacles j 
but as all those which had been put up by him in this manner did not 
get the red color of the fresh boiled lobsters, and therefore were not 
liked so well, he took out a patent in 1840 for putting them up in such 
a manner as to keep their beautiful red color. He dipped them in boil- 
ing water containing salt till they got this color, and then made an 
incision in the soft part under the tail, thus letting the water which 
injured them flow off, and then placed them in hermetically-sealed ves- 
sels. Yery few lobsters put up in this manner, however, seem to have 
been exported, and nothing more has been heard about it. 


Although the lobster had been known to our ancestors from time 
immemorial, it was, as has been said above, but little used as an article 
of food, and foreigners have taught us to like its flavor. In Holland, the 
lobster seems to have been highly prized, even in olden times ; and when 
their lobster-fisheries were no longer able to supply the demand, the 


Dutch began to visit Norway as early as the seventeenth century, but it 
seems that lobsters were not exported in any considerable quantity till the 
middle of the century, especially from Flsekkefiord and from Karmo. 
The citizens of Zierikzee in Holland commenced this trade, and for a 
long time carried it on exclusively. We read that lobsters were ex- 
ported from Flsekkefiord in 1060. In 1674, that port was visited by ten 
lobster-ships, and, in 1676, Hittero near Flsekkefiord, and Egvaag near 
Farsund, became the chief stations in the districts of Lister and Mandal. 
From 1690 thenceforward the Zierikzee boats visited Karmo regularly, 
Skutesnses and Buken being the first lobster-ports in that district. The 
Dutch were so eager to further these fisheries that they gave presents 
to the clergymen, consisting of cheese and cakes, and thereby induced 
them to exhort the peasants in front of the church to catch and sell 
lobsters. This succeeded so well near Lister that I find that a man on 
July 7, 1699, had his ground solemnly consecrated so as to prevent 
other people from catching lobsters there. The clergymen at Karmo 
received presents till 1730, when the Dutch found that it had become an 
unnecessary expense, the lobster-fisheries being by that time in a very 
flourishing condition. Till 1713, however, these fisheries were not carried 
on to any very great extent, as wars hindered the fishermen from follow- 
ing their occupation and made the export uncertain. People therefore 
contented themselves with catching lobsters with tongs ; but, after the 
peace of Utrecht in 1713, the export of lobsters was better regulated, and 
several ports were visited both in the Stavanger and in the South Ber- 
gen districts. Then people began to make baskets, which the Dutch were 
very anxious to introduce, as many of the lobsters caught with tongs 
died. The Dutch, therefore, gave to those fishermen who used baskets 
clay pipes, and twine to tie the claws of the lobster. By agreement, 
common customs and regulations for loading the ships had been adopted, 
so that the shipper who first came into port should be allowed to take his 
full load before any of the others could buy any. The price had also 
been fixed by the Dutch at about one cent for each lobster, ("full man,") 
and about fifteen cents for every one hundred lobsters brought along- 
side of the ship. In order to avoid competition among the buyers, every 
port had a certain district assigned to it from which it was sup- 
plied with lobsters, and every captain had a certain port to which his 
ship must go. As long as this trade was carried on exclusively by the 
citizens of Zierikzee, this agreement was kept up, and both buyers 
and sellers were contented. The following places were then gradually 
designated as lobster-ports : Mandal, Flsekkefiord, Egersund, Tanaoger, 
or perhaps Stavanger, Akre on the island of Karmo, and Leervig on the 
island of Stordo. Outside of Lister, Stavanger, and the southern part of 
the Bergen district, it was not allowed to catch or sell lobsters on account 
of the strange belief prevalent among the fishermen that lobster-fishing 
would ruin the other fisheries. This can be seen from Governor Povel 
Juel's memorial of 1717, which is found in the royal archives, where we 


read : " It is thought that the lobster-fisheries are very injurious to all 
the other important fisheries ; for experience*! fishermen say that fish 
mostly live where there are lobsters, and that they dive to the bottom 
to get the roe of the lobster. It is well known all along the coast that 
through lobster-fishing the cod and mackerel fisheries are neglected, and 
it is desirable that this fishery should be entirely abandoned." 

This belief in the injuriousness of the lobster-fisheries seems to have been 
very common till the end of the last century ; for, in u Versuch einer Natur- 
geschichte der Krabben und Krebse, w by Herbst, 1797, it says " that many 
people think this trade is injurious to Norway, as the removal of large 
quantities of lobsters makes the fisheries leave the coast of Norway." Gov- 
ernor Holm, in his u Forsog til Beslcrivelse over Lister og Mandate Amter i 
Korge," likewise says : "It is difficult to say in how far lobster-fishing 
hinders the other fisheries, as many fishermen stoutly maintain. Lobster- 
fishing has been carried on, as now, in olden times, when the other fish- 
eries were very considerable." The lobster-ships were to go to certain 
ports specially designated, and, on leaving these ports, were to pay a 
sum to the custom-house officers, who besides liked to take small pres- 
ents, which abuse is complained of as early as 1717, as likewise 
that the citizens sold to the lobster-ships brandy and lumber, receiving 
in exchange various goods which paid no duty. The lobster-ships gen- 
erally came twice a year from Holland, late in autumn and early in 
spring, and sailed along the coast to get their cargo in the ports des- 
ignated for them. The English at that time received their lobsters 
from their own coasts, from the North American islands, and from Heli- 
goland ; 18,000 having been exported to England from the latter place in 
1713, and 34,000 in 1714. But, as soon as the English demand grew 
larger, English ships occasionally came to Norwegian ports, and bought 
lobsters, paying a higher price than the Dutch. It seemed, also, as if, 
through the introduction of baskets in Lister and Karmo, by which lob- 
sters were easier caught in greater numbers, and through the increased 
export during the years of peace after 1713, the quantity of lobsters had 
decreased, and the fishermen began to complain of the low price paid 
by the Hutch. In 1716, the fishermen of Lister addressed a memorial 
to Governor Povel Juel, saying "that they no longer could sell lobsters 
according to the old regulations at a cent apiece, because the fisheries 
decreased year by year, so that they had no reward for their trouble, 
danger, and expense, but only less profit in their farming, which had to 
be entirely neglected on account of these fisheries; they, therefore, had 
concluded to give up the above-mentioned fisheries entirely j" and, 
therefore, they petitioned him to forbid the lobster-buyers to visit the 
ports, or at least to raise the price to 2 cents apiece. The governor, 
who always seems to have taken a deep interest in the welfare of his 
district, consequently decreed, July 15, 1717, " partly in order to please 
the farmers, and partly the lobster-buyers, who would quickly get their 
cargo if all the men along the coast gave greater attention to the 


fisheries, because they had the price raised, and had not to lie in port 
eating up their provisions," that the lobster-buyers who, after this date, 
came to the ports in his district tl should pay 2 cents for every lobster, 
either living or dead, great or small, just as it might come; but, if 
it only had one claw, 1£ cents, and not give either a higher or a 
lower price. Any one acting contrary to this decree should pay a 
fine of about 30 cents for every lobster, half of which should go to the 
informer, and half to the sick poor of the parish ; and the lobster which 
had been either bought or sold should be confiscated." The old cus- 
toms, that the ship coming into port first should first take its full cargo, 
&c, should remain. He also induced the governor of Stavanger to 
issue the same decree in his district, but the governor of. the South 
Bergen district would not do so. When the lobster-traders in Zierikzee 
heard of these regulations, they resolved to oppose them unanimously, 
and agreed in writing not to give more than one cent for each lobster, 
aud also to send their ships on one and the same day to those places 
where they were accustomed to get their cargo, so as to prevent any of the 
shippers from abandoning the agreement entered into and paying more. 
They thought that if all the shippers were unanimous not to pay more, 
the poor fishermen would finally give in if they saw that the shippers 
made preparations for sailing and no one else was there to buy. Their 
commissioner in Stavanger, Lauritz Smith, made great exertions to 
induce the peasants to return to the old price, by traveling in person to 
Tananger, where he had great influence, and by urging the clergymen 
to induce their parishioners to sell at the old price, promising them some 
extra presents from the Dutch if they should prove successful in per- 
suading the peasants. All the custom-house officers also assisted him, 
because they were afraid of losing their fees and small presents which 
they w^ere in the habit of receiving from the Dutch. He was, however, 
only successful in one parish in the Tananger district, while in all the 
others and in the districts of Lister, Mandal, and Stavanger the peasants 
immovably stuck to their new price. In the Bergen district, the gov- 
ernor had issued no decrees, and Smith succeeded, with the assistance 
of the custom-house officers in Leervig, in furnishing the Dutch several 
cargoes at the old price. The wealthy peasants were the most eager to 
uphold the new price, forcing the poorer ones not to sell, so that all the 
exertions of the Dutch failed ; the new price soon becoming universal 
everywhere, and prevailing till near the end of the century, but only for 
living lobsters measuring more than 8 inches in length, while for the 
smaller ones or those having only one claw only one cent was paid. 
Lauritz Smith also made complaints to the government in Copenhagen 
regarding Governor JuePs decrees, and as Juel was not in favor with the 
government, his decrees for the benefit of the peasants did not meet with 
its approval. Iu his report to the king, Smith complained very strongly 
that the governor had attempted to change old established customs 
which to all intents and purposes related to foreigners. The report 


suggested that all the fisheries should be rented out for the benefit of 
the royal treasury. Governor Juel was that same year obliged to resign 
and could do no more in this matter. The thought of renting them out 
was agaiu given up, as the new governor could not advise such a step ; but 
sometime afterward the question began to be asked whether the country's 
own merchants might not derive some advantage from this trade, and 
whether they might not reap the great profit which had hitherto fallen 
to the share of the Dutch. The export of lobsters was quite considerable 
at this time, as the district of Bergen was annually visited by eight ships, 
aud more than twenty took their cargoes in the districts of Lister, Manda, 
and Stavauger. There is no information as to the size of these ships, or 
how many lobtsers they took, but each took a cargo twice a year ; and 
even if they were not as large as those mentioned.about the middle of the 
century which could hold 4,000 to 6,000 lobsters, the quantity of lobsters 
exported was, nevertheless, very considerable, and the Dutch traders 
must certainly have enjoyed a good income from this trade, as on every 
occasion they showed themselves so eager to retain it. As lobster-fish- 
ing had become much easier since the introduction of baskets, and 
more profitable through the higher price which the peasants got, the 
landed proprietors wanted to have the exclusive right to fish near their 
grounds and forbid all others to do so. This they thought could best 
be done by having their grounds solemnly consecrated. I find such a 
consecration of a farm near Lister, spoken of as early as 1689, but on 
the island of Karmo not till 1720. In some places, such a consecration 
was respected ; while in others this was not the case, the people having 
an idea that fishing in the sea should be free to all. A law-suit in 1725 
resulted in the confirmation of this ancient law of free fishing in the sea 
by a royal decree, which also affected the lobster-fisheries. David Hal- 
vorsen Yraa and Jacob Olsen Vidoen, of the village of Staengeland, on 
the island of Karmo, in 1725, brought a law-suit against some fishermen, 
who, in spite of the consecration of their ground, had placed some lob- 
ster-baskets near some small islands belonging to them. Judge Leth 
gave judgment on the 29th of August of the same year in favor of the 
plaintiffs, on the ground that the law, book 5, chapter 11, article 2, con- 
firmed by book 3, chapter 13, article 1, gave the owners the right to 
use all the profits that might be derived from their property. After 
this judgment had been passed, all the owners of islands began to forbid 
the fishermen from catching lobsters not only on those portions of the 
coast that were very near to their farms, but also on islands that lay at a 
distance of three or tour miles from the coast. The poor fishermen, who 
at certain seasons of the year lived entirely off the lobster- fisheries, saw 
themselves deprived of this means of making a living, and complained 
bitterly to the highest authorities, maintaining "that the lobster-fisher- 
ies have never before been forbidden them, and that now they were de- 
prived of their only way of making a living;" they pointed out that the 
king's own sailors were especially hurt by this judgment. Through the 


governor, their complaints were laid before the viceroy, Mr. Weber, who 
had the matter examined by competent men, and thereupon sent a me- 
morial to the king, in which he says, ainang other things: "The bless- 
ings which the sea bestows will become useless, if the owner of the 
ground has the power to take and keep everything pertaining to the 
fisheries ; fish are not in one place, but change from one to the other ; 
and the fishermen, who alone understand the fisheries and earn their 
living thereby, must go after the fish. It is a general custom of the 
country, and also in accordance with the law, that every one takes the 
fish which the sea yields wherever he finds them, with the exception of 
the salmon, which always goes to certain places that pay a special tax, 
and where, therefore, none but the owner is allowed to fish. The law, 
book 5, chapter 11, article 11, says that no one must hinder another per- 
son in the fisheries he possesses from olden times, and article 2 of the same 
chapter, on which the judge has based his argument, says: 'Every man 
shall enjoy the water and the fisheries near his grounds which he has 
possessed from olden times, unless he has been deprived of these privi- 
leges by law ;' and book 3, chapter 13, article 1, says : 'A nobleman and 
landed proprietor is, more than any stranger, privileged to use all the 
advantages of his property.' Fierce law-suits would follow, if the owner 
of such islands could forbid the fishermen to catch lobsters, as the bless- 
ing of the sea would then remain useless, and the little that was de- 
rived from it would not be properly treated, since the fishermen alone 
have the greatest experience in this matter," &c. He therefore pro- 
poses to the king to revoke the judgment given by Judge Leth, and 
allow all and every one to fish lobsters. The result of this memorial was 
a royal decree, dated April 23, 1728, to the effect that lobster-fishing 
should be free to all. 

After this decree had made the lobster-fisheries free, the export of 
lobsters, concerning whose decrease complaints had been made to the 
viceroy, rose again, so that in 1733 twenty-three large cargoes, contain- 
ing 160,000 lobsters, went to Holland, and the rest to England in thirty- 
two small Euglish and nine Norwegian vessels. The Stavanger fish- 
ermen had recently got six to eight lobster-vessels, after the question 
whether the advantages of the lobster-trade might not just as well be 
enjoyed by. the king's own subjects as by the Dutch had been settled, 
and certain privileges had been granted to the home traders, decreeing 
u that in order not to let foreigners reap the chief profit, a Norwegian 
ship should be admitted into every port before anything should be sold to 
foreigners." English vessels likewise began from this time to visit the 
coasts of Norway in greater numbers ; many of these had formerly taken 
their cargoes near Heligoland, and had left that region because the 
fisheries had decreased there. Several ports of export and custom- 
houses were established on account of the increased fisheries ; six ports 
being alone established in the Stavanger districts. On account of the 
greater demand for lobsters, the fisheries were carried on to a great 


extent, and complaints are made during the following years that the 
number of lobsters on the coast was decreasing. Count Rantzau, who 
was governor at the time, issued an order to his officers that they should 
make suggestions as to what should be done to prevent the decrease of 
this important fishery, which yielded so large an income to the king and 
the nation. Judge Lorn, in Lister, in 1737 made a proposition that the 
fishermen should be forbidden to sell any lobsters measuring less than 
9 to 10 inches in length, under a fine of about 60 cents for every smaller 
lobster which is sold ; and as the lobster, as far as known to him, emits 
its roe toward the end of June, fishing should cease from June 24 till 
the end of February. This for those times very remarkable proposi- 
tion was not supported by others, and was forgotten ; more than one 
hundred years were to pass before the idea of protecting the lobster 
during the season when it spawns and sheds its shell was destined to 
become a reality, and a law passed concerning it. Peasants who had 
farms near the sea where lobsters were caught, believed that the decrease 
of these fisheries was chiefly caused by the freedom of fishing, and that 
the lobsters would finally be exterminated. There was consequently great 
dissatisfaction with the royal decree, which favored the small farmers at 
the expense of the great ones. They likewise thought that as conse- 
crating the ground had, with few exceptions, always been respected, 
owners should also in the future be exclusively permitted to fish lobsters 
on their gounds, if these had been consecrated prior to the royal decree. 
Many government officials seemed to have shared this view, especially 
when the fisheries began to decrease very much and the peasants found 
it very difficult to pay their taxes. The judge, in his answer to Gov- 
ernor Eantzau's inquiry regarding the economical pressure, says ex- 
X^ressly u that in assessing the taxes on each farm regard had been had 
to the lobster-fisheries, which have become exceedingly profitable, for 
which reason the Dutch and English lobster- vessels frequent our coast. 
In these regions, mackerel and other important fisheries have belonged 
to the farms lying near the sea; and as, in the district of Lister, these 
fisheries have been so entirely destroyed that the inhabitants have not 
had any use of them for many years, and had to lay aside their nets 
and seines, which they had bought at a great expense, they now have 
nothing else to fall back upon for earning a living and paying their 
taxes but the lobster-fisheries near their ground, since the quantity of 
grain and hay which they harvest is but very small, and agriculture is, 
in many places, connected with the greatest difficulties." He would, 
therefore, propose u that, in order to preserve the fisheries, land-owners 
may have the exclusive right of fishing on the coast near their grounds 
and around all those islands, which were formerly used for agriculture, 
as far as the deep water, but that all the remaining waters should be 
free to every one." He, therefore, wished to bring back the condition 
which existed before Judge Leth gave the two farmers mentioned above 
the exclusive right to fish lobsters near their grounds, which right all 


land-owners, from foolish covetousness, exercised so far as to forbid the 
poor fishermen from catching lobsters on the outer coast as formerly, for 
which reason the royal decree also made lobster-fishing entirely free. 
The decree, however, remained in force, for the special reason that it 
favored the enrolled sailors, to assist whom was in the interest of the 

The dissatisfaction with the existing state of affairs did not grow less 
in course of time; but every time that the political situation in 
Europe favored or did not prevent the lobster-trade, the land-owners 
endeavored to regain the exclusive right of fishing lobsters near their 
grounds. In the district of Flaekkefiord, there were thus, in 1790, 
serious quarrels between the fishermen and the land-owners, who tried 
to prevent the fishermen from catching lobsters near their grounds, 
forbidding them to live on their islands, or to set their baskets and 
gather the lobsters. Mr. Schionniug, a custom-house officer, January 13, 
1770, made a proposition to the board of trade, containing more definite 
regulations concerning the rights of both parties, in order to put an end 
to the quarrels between the fishermen and the land-owners. This propo- 
sition was sent to the governor, at that time Mr. Teiste, who quietly 
shelved it. 

The Stavanger merchants, after the year 1730, had bought several 
lobster-vessels for shipping lobsters to Holland, because they now 
had a number of privileges with regard to the sale of lobsters. They 
could not, however, derive from it the profit they desired, as the 
Dutch sought in every way to hinder the sale of lobsters in Hol- 
land from Norwegian vessels. Several Stavanger merchants, there- 
fore, again sold their vessels to the Dutch, and became Dutch com- 
missioners j letting the trade, however, go on in their own name, so 
as to retain for their ships the privilege of first buyers. Complaints 
were made, and the Norwegian vessels seem somewhat later to have 
lost this privilege of the first buyer. The last who owned lobster- 
ships were the firms of Kjelland & Son and Planz & Sunt, in Sta- 
vanger, who became commissioners for English lobster-companies, which, 
in the latter half of the eighteenth century, gradually took possession 
of the lobster-trade, pushing the Dutch into the background. The priv- 
ileges granted to Norwegian vessels greatly benefitted the commerce of 
Norway, which at that time could not compete with the more powerful 
commercial nations, in whose hands all our import and export trade had 
hitherto been ; but the government, nevertheless, endeavored at times 
to encourage the export of the productions of the country in Norwegian 
vessels, and for the prosecution of the lobster-trade several further priv- 
ileges were granted to Norwegian vessels, without however being of 
much benefit. Governor Holm therefore said toward the end of the last 
century, in his " Forsog til Beslcrivelse af Lister og Mandate Amter? that 
«'the lobster-fishery would be more profitable to the country if it became 
more common to carry it on in Norwegian ships instead of letting the 


Dutch take it and reap the profits which Norway should enjoy." In 
1753, the custom-house at Leervig was abandoned, and after that year 
lobsters were chiefly shipped from Espevser, a group of islands farther 
out at sea, where the richest fisheries were carried on. Formerly, as has 
been said, it was not allowed to fish or ship lobsters north of Leervig, 
but later lobsters were also allowed to be exported from the southern and 
northern Bergen districts, from which there had been constant com- 
plaints regarding this prohibition. The export, however, was not con- 
siderable north of the old lobster-ports ; for, according to Olrik, only 
52,000 were exported in 1757 from the outer ports in the Bergen custom- 
house district, the greater portion of which came from Sondfiordland. 
Of these, only 4,000 went to England in English ships, the remainder going 
to Holland. Toward the end of the eighteenth century, a great change 
took place in the lobster-trade, as, after the war which broke out between 
Holland and England in 1776, the Dutch lobster-trade was entirely 
ruined, the English taking possession of it. 

The lobster-fisheries on the inner coast, where they formerly had been 
carried on almost exclusively, decreased very much, so that in the Sta- 
vanger district the shipping-ports of Stjernero and Nordstrand were 
given up, as well as the outer port of Skudesnses ; and toward the end 
of the century the export of lobsters was chiefly carried on, besides 
from the old ports in the Lister and Mandal districts, from Tananger, 
Buken, and Akre, in the Stavanger district, and from Espevser, in the 
South Bergen district, to which afterward came the more northerly 
ports of Salthellern and Bognesund. These shipping-ports had been 
established through the exertions of a Bergen merchant, Mr. Wallace. 
He was commissioner for an English lobster-company, which controlled 
all the trade from Bommel to Nordfiord. Brandosund later took the 
place of Salthellern as a shipping-port. 

In order to encourage lobster-fishing and the lobster- trade to foreign 
countries, considerable changes were made in the custom-house arrange- 
ments and the taxes to be paid for lobster-vessels. As it is of great 
importance during the lobster-season to get the lobsters to the shipping 
ports alive, every delay during the lading of the vessel, or every delay 
in the time of sailing, will occasion the death of many lobsters. Special 
custom house regulations had therefore to be made for the lobster- trade. 
Such a special regulation from the end of the last century is here given, 
omitting some unimportant points: 

u Until further notice, it is allowed — 

"1. That both foreign and Norwegian lobster- vessels, when taking 
lobsters in the ports of Salthellern and Espevser, may enter these ports 
without going up to the custom-house, or without obliging the shipper 
to go there with the papers of the ship, unless the ship has no certificate 
of its gauge, in which case it must obtain one from the authorities in 
Bergen. % 

" 2. These ships are not required, either going out or coming in, to 


call the custom-house officers on board in order to examine the ship and 
exact the taxes on the lobsters which compose the cargo. The officers, 
however, are at liberty to superintend the lading, if necessary. 

u 3. The lobster-commissioners of this firm (Wallace) must faithfully 
give an account of all the goods which the incoming ships may bring, 
and of the number of lobsters which are to be exported, so that the 
dues may be paid, and must also give the carrying capacity of the vessel. 

H 4. These ships are not exempt from the general custom-house super- 
vision, but all the more, on account of the liberties accorded to them, 
does it become a duty of the officers to keep strict surveillance ; and the 
revenue-cutters have also to see to it that nothing unlawful is going on. 

"5. With regard to proving the correct calculation of the custom- 
dues, it is resolved that the commissioners, in everyplace where lobsters 
are caught, shall annually, when the fisheries cease, obtain from the 
fishermen the exact number of lobsters caught and the number of ships 
employed in the trade, with their carrying capacity. These data are 
communicated to the custom-house officers, and the dues are to be paid 

M 6. Ships exporting lobsters from Eognesund are granted the same 
privileges, only with the difference that on coming into port they must 
come up to the custom-house, so that, consequently, the commissioner 
alone becomes responsible for the correctness of the list of the lobsters 
which have been exported. 

" Given at the general custom-house office January 20, 1798." 

The war between Holland and England injured the lobster-trade 
somewhat, but it soon recovered and rose to considerable dimensions, 
like our whale-trade, during the North American war which broke out 
in 1775. In Farsund, the flourishing firm of Jochum Birch Lund had in 
178G commenced to export lobsters in vessels of their own. Several 
years later, when the English attempted to get a foothold in their lob- 
ster-district and pay higher prices, they petitioned the government to 
order the fishermen to keep the conditions of the contract entered into 
by them till its time was up ; but the government could in this case refer 
them to the law. In 1790, they petitioned to obtain the exclusive right 
to buy up all lobsters in the neighborhood of Farsund, agreeing to give 
the same price as others. They referred to their heavy expenses for fit- 
ting out vessels, and to all they had done to further the interests of Far- 
sund, and maintained that their petition was in accordance with old 
privileges granted to the Norwegian lobster-trade. They obtained this 
ex-clusive right to buy lobsters on condition that this right should only 
be enforced till their ships had got their full cargoes, and that they 
should pay the same price as others. It was therefore not the same 
privilege which had been granted to Norwegian lobster- vessels more 
than half a century earlier, as these had only the right to let one of their 
vessels take its cargo before foreigners could get any lobsters. Some 
years later, they petitioned for the same privilege for all their vessels, 

even beyond Cape Lindesuaas. This, however, was not granted. 
10 F 


As the fisheries toward the end of the century declined very much, 
Mr. Gjertsen, a Mandal merchant, in 1790, proposed to the government 
that it should forbid the fishermen to catch lobsters from July 1 till the 
end of October, under a fine of $25. He drew attention to the constant 
decrease in the number of lobsters, which he thought was solely owing 
to the fact that they were caught during the season when they spawned 
and shed their shell. Although he did not seem to know anything of 
Judge Loin's proposition of 1737, he had nevertheless arrived at the 
same result, viz, that, if the numbers of the lobster are not to be dimin- 
ished, they must be protected during the season when they spawn 
and shed their shell. The government approved of this proposition 
quite as little as of Lom's, thinking that such a prohibition of the fish- 
eries at a certain season would reduce the income of the fishermen too 
much, especially during poor years, and no one seems to have had an 
idea that such a protection of the lobster would prove extremely useful. 

The European events from the beginning of the French revolution 
seem not to have had much influence on the lobster-trade, which was 
now in the hands of the greatest maritime power, England. Even their 
attack on Copenhagen in 1801 had only a temporary influence. 

The export, which had decreased very much toward the end of the cen- 
tury, seems to have risen again somewhat during the first years of the 
new century, so that from 1804 to 1808 the annual average export was 
345,000 ; 97,700 from the Bergen district, 174,300 from Stavanger and 
Egernsund, 64,800 from the lobster-ports in the district of Lister and 
Mandal, and a number from the district of Arendal, where people had 
only begun to catch lobsters about this time. The increased number of 
lobsters exported was owing more to the establishment of new lobster- 
ports than to an increase of the number of lobsters in the old ones. On 
account of the small number caught toward the end of the century, the 
price of lobsters had risen, so that in 1804 about 2£ cents each were 
paid for lobsters caught in winter, and about 2 cents for those caught 
in summer. The fishermen were now placed in a very favorable posi- 
tion, and lobster-fishing was constantly extending beyond its old limits. 
The year 1807, however, had a decided influence on this fishery and the 
trade connected with it. After the attack of the English on Copenha- 
gen and the consequent war, the export of lobsters ceased entirely, 
and they were only caught to supply the home market, and partly to be 
used as bait in the rich plaice fisheries, which at that time had been dis- 
covered near Stavanger. These years of war for the country were years 
of peace for the lobsters, and their number seems to have increased to 
such an extent that when the fisheries recommenced in 1815 they were 
taken in enormous quantities, not only inside but even outside of the 
baskets. The custom of the lobster-fishers getting from the traders not 
only brandy, as well as twine to tie the claws of the lobsters so they 
should not bite each other, but also clay pipes, which we find common 
in the beginning of the eighteenth century, is also spoken of in 1817 by 


Oftedahl in his " Efterretninger om Renneso," where he says " that a 
lot of clay pipes in a honse is a sure sign that the inhabitants have been 
engaged in lobster-fishing.' 7 The price of lobsters was, according to hi m , 
in the same year only a cent apiece, as the fisheries were still very pro- 
ductive, but, nevertheless, the fishermen made a good living, the most 
fortunate ones selling annually in the parish of Skudesnaes lobsters to 
the amount of $150 to $175, (Krogs (EJwnomislc statistiske JEfterret- 
ninger om Skudesnaes Praestegjaeld, 1816, in the u Budstililcen" for 
1817 j) and in the parish of Eenneso the average sum earned by each 
fisher in 1817 was, according to Oftedahl, $166. From 1815 to 1818, 
593,000 were on an average exported annually, so that the exports were 
greater than before the war, although the district was much smaller. 
On account of the low price of lobsters, caused by the rich fisheries, the 
exports rose still more, and English companies not only bought lobsters 
for their own country, but reshipped some of them to France. 

The number of lobsters exported in 1821 and 1822 amounted to over 
a million a year, and increased still more during the following years, 
although it was not so large in 1823 and 1824 on account of the unfavor- 
able weather. From 1825 to 1830, the average number of lobsters ex- 
ported annually was 1,268,000, and in 1827 and 1828 the highest num- 
ber was reached, viz, 1,500,000. These large numbers, however, were 
caused not so much by the fisheries being just as productive or more so 
in the old lobster-stations, but by the circumstance that new English 
companies, seeing the great profit to be derived from this trade, com- 
menced to export lobsters from places from which they never had been 
exported before. Thus lobsters began to be exported in 1828 from the 
district of Tonsberg, and from Sondmor in 1826, and during the two fol- 
lowing years from Molde and Christianssund. The exports from Sta- 
vanger and Egernsund meanwhile decreased very much, having been 
reduced to 67,000 per annum in the latter place in 1827 when the exports 
from the whole of Norway amounted to 1,429,703. After 1830, the 
exports began to decrease even in the new districts, so that the annual 
average quantity of lobsters exported during the five years 1831-'35 
was only 640,000. The only places that kept the lobster-trade alive 
were the new districts, while all the old ones, decreased rapidly, some 
of them to such a degree that according to the governors 7 reports the 
lobster-trade must be considered almost extinct in 1835. 

All this export- trade was carried on by English vessels, except at 
Farsund, from which Mr. Hans G. Lund shipped twenty-four cargoes in 
1819, twenty-four in 1821, sixteen in 1824, and twelve in 1825, each of 
them consisting of 4,000 lobsters, partly to London and partly to Hol- 

When the attention of the fishermen was directed to this decrease of 
the lobsters in the old districts, people began to be afraid that the poor 
fishermen would entirely lose this means of earning a living; and it 
was supposed that the decrease was chiefly due to the fisheries being 


carried on during the spawning-season of the lobster. In 1830, Mr. T. 
Lundsgaard, member of tbe Storthing, (Norwegian Parliament,) therefore 
made the motion to pass a law forbidding the catching or exporting 
of lobsters from June 15 till October 1. The committee which had 
this matter in charge proposed that the motion should be laid on 
the table, because Mr. Lundsgaard had not produced any information 
which might enable the committee to judge with certainty to what 
extent this dreaded decrease of the fisheries really existed, and whether 
the evil could be remedied by the measures that were proposed. The 
committee likewise thought that such a measure would be too great 
an encroachment on the rights of many places on the coast, taking 
away from these regions their only source of income. The government, 
however thought, that the matter was of great importance; and as 
the report of the committee showed that only want of information had 
prevented any action beiug taken, it requested those districts in which 
the lobster-fisheries were carried on to have the matter examined by 
the local officers and other competent men, and to send in a report, 
stating whether it would be useful to pass a law on the subject; and, 
if so, to state the objections to Mr. Lundsgaard's proposition. All the 
reports which reached the government in answer to this request agreed 
that the lobsters had decreased in size, but some supposed that the 
great masses of spring-herring coming near the coast might have had 
an influence on it, or that this decrease in the size of the lobster 
might be caused by their young ones being disturbed by the cut- 
ting of sea- weeds for manure; others advised not to pass any law 
against exporting lobsters from June 15 till October 1, fearing that 
the exports to England might thereby be hindered, as the companies 
would naturally not consider the lobster-trade profitable unless it was 
steady ; and the fishermen would lose their income during the time 
when exportation was forbidden, or they would evade the law, continu- 
ing to fish and keeping the lobsters till exportation was again permit- 
ted. Others again raised objections based on their knowledge of the 
natural history of the lobster, considering it doubtful whether the lob- 
ster spawned and shed its shell during the time indicated, and even if it 
were the case, that the time was too long. Eeports from other districts, 
such as Stavanger, said that such a law was unnecessary, as no fishing 
was, anyway, going on during that time. These objections to such a 
protective law could not have much influence, especially those founded 
on the natural history of the lobster, for they could not be proved. But 
even the fear of an entire stoppage of the lobster-trade would be cause- 
less, as such an event would be much more injurious to England, whose 
inhabitants had accustomed themselves to this luxury, than to Norway, 
which received but little money for her lobsters. From other sides it 
was said, in favor of the law, that such a protection would be useful, as 
the lobster very easily dies during the season when it spawns and sheds 
its shell, although this season is not the same everywhere. Those who 


might suffer from limiting the fishing-season would be fully compensated 
for this by the greater number of lobsters that would be taken during 
the season when fishing was permitted; and the fishermen should, at any 
rate, during summer devote their attention more to working their little 
farms and to the herring-fisheries. The government found that the whole 
matter was not yet sufficiently clear to say with certainty whether such a 
prohibition of lobster-fishing during the season when the lobster spawns 
and sheds its shell would prove generally useful. The districts where lob- 
ster-fishing was carried on were therefore requested to have those fisheries 
thoroughly examined for several years by competent men, and then again 
send in reports as to whether such a prohibition would be useful. It was 
likewise requested that an opinion should be given regarding a proposi- 
tion made by some people in the district of Nedernees and Eaabygdelagen, 
to divide the coast into small districts, where lobster-fishing should be 
alternately protected, so that if a district had enjoyed the privilege of 
fishing for three years, fishing should there be forbidden during the 
three following years. The reports coming in in answer to this request 
contained a very extensive prohibitory law, recommended by the above- 
mentioned district, suggesting that fishing should be prohibited from 
March 1 till October 1, and advising that no lobsters measuring less than 8 
inches should be caught ; the length of time when fishing was to be prohib- 
ited should be three years in each district. Another district only wanted 
to have fishing prohibited from July 1 to November 1, but was not in favor 
of alternating the time between the districts. The Stavanger district 
reported that as fishing was going on there only in April, May, and 
June, no law would be required, and none would be desirable, especially 
if it were to forbid fishing during the month of June, when the weather 
was favorable and the fishermen had most time for it. The lobster did 
not spawn on that coast till August and September. It was also thought 
that the number of lobsters had not diminished, but that they now stayed 
deeper in the water, finding enough food in the roe left by the herrings; 
alternating protection was not thought advisable. The report from 
the South Bergen district was essentially the same ; and the Eoinsdal 
report said that lobsters were only caught from the end of May till the 
end of July. As there were, moreover, many different opinions regard- 
ing the time when the lobster spawns and sheds its shell, the govern- 
ment resolved to get the opinion of scientists on this point, and requested 
Professor Eathke, Professor G. Boeck, and Professor Sars (at that time a 
clergyman) to make a report on the nature of the lobster. Professor 
Eathke in his report said that in his opinion the pairing-season of the 
lobster was over before midsummer, and that the shedding of the shell 
took place later, but he thought at the same time that the mass of lob- 
sters that came near the coast during the spawning-season was so large 
that the comparatively inconsiderable number that were caught would 
scarcely be noticed ; he also thought that it would be so difficult to 
enforce the law that it would be more injurious than useful. Professor 


Sars thought that a thorough investigation of the spawning-process of 
the lobster would be the ouly safe basis for any law ; but this process 
was still very much enveloped in obscurity. He supposed, however, 
that fishing could be carried on till the eggs came out of the ovary, and 
were fastened under the tail, which took place in June, and fishing 
should consequently be prohibited from June 1 till September 15. He 
did not think that the number of lobsters had decreased, but that it only 
seemed so, because nowadays more people were engaged in fishing, and 
fewer lobsters consequently fell to the share of each fisherman. He 
thought, however, tha,t the lobsters had diminished in size. In a later 
report, he expressed his opinion that lobster-fishing should be prohibited 
from June till the middle of September. Prof. 0. Boeck gave in his 
report, in the first place, a description of the lobster's mode of life, and 
a criticism of the reports on the condition of the lobster- fisheries, sent 
by the governor. He showed from statistics that a decrease in the num- 
ber of lobsters was both possible and probable on account of the in- 
creased fisheries during the past years. The lobster is a coast-animal, 
and only stays where it can easily get a sufficient supply of food, there- 
fore near the coast, and only as far from it as sea- weeds are found, 
between which it finds the animals that constitute its food. Even if it 
wanders about, it does not go far, going, e. g., in winter into a greater 
depth, and during summer into the shallow water near the coast. It 
then swims about on the surface of the water, but never goes very far, 
its structure not being adapted for longer journeys. The fact of the mat- 
ter is, therefore, that a certain number of lobsters belong to a certain 
extent of coast, which, by propagating freely, may increase if they have 
sufficient food, or decrease from a natural mortality or too much fishing ; 
and in this latter case the losses cannot easily be made up by lobsters 
coming in from the adjoining districts. There can, consequently, be no 
doubt that the lobster can, on a given stretch of coast, be exterminated 
by continued persecutions, or its number, at least, be diminished to 
such a degree as to make lobster-fishing unprofitable. Such an event 
would occur all the sooner if the coast in question be not favorable to 
its increase. From the reports which had come in, it seemed that cer- 
tain places were less favorable to their propagation, or possible immi- 
gration from adjoining districts, than others, and from such districts the 
complaints concerning the decrease in the number of lobsters had come. 
In other places, the bottom of the sea along the coast was a convenient 
place of sojourn for the lobsters, and the number caught was but a small 
part of those that lived and were born there. In such places, the fish- 
eries would be productive and steady. But even there, continued ex- 
haustive fishing would diminish their number, especially if there should 
be an unfavorable year for the growth and development of the lobster. 
Prof. G. Boeck considered it, therefore, not only desirable, but even 
necessary for the even maintenance of the fisheries, that there should 
be certain limitations, so that lobsters should not be caught to such a 


degree as to make an entire stoppage of the fisheries for a period of 
time necessary. He believed that the proposed law, in obedience to 
which lobsters should only be caught at certain seasons of the year, 
would not fully answer the purpose, especially as no fishing was going 
on during the proposed time of prohibition in those districts from which 
there were the loudest complaints of the decrease of the lobsters. 
He thought, on the other hand, that a law prescribing that only lob- 
sters of a given minimum size should be exported and sold would keep 
the fisheries in an even condition. Regarding the size of the lobsters that 
were to be offered for sale, sold, and exported, he thought, that even if 
it could not be definitely settled at what age and what size a lobster was 
capable of spawning, it could to some extent be ascertained from an 
analogical comparison with the river-crawfish. This is supposed to be 
sexually fully developed in its third year, when it is 4 inches long, but 
it may attain an age of twenty years and a length of 6 inches. He 
therefore supposed that the lobster becomes capable of spawning when 
it is three years old and has reached a length of about 8 inches, while lob- 
sters measuring less are seldom found to have any roe. In order, there- 
fore, that the lobster before being caught may not only reach the size 
when it may be considered fully grown, but might also be supposed to 
have contributed something toward the propagation of the species, a 
minimum size of a little more than 8 inches should be agreed upon for 
lobsters which might be caught and exported. Possibly 8 inches might 
be sufficient, as the English generally do not buy any from the fishermen 
as " full men v which do not have this size. 

In consequence of this report, the ministry petitioned His Majesty to 
recommend to the next Storthing the passage of a law forbidding the 
offer for sale and the sale of lobsters that did not measure 8 inches in 
length, inclusive of the head and tail. 

The following royal proposition for a law limiting lobster-fishing was 
thereupon published November 5, 1838 : 

H We Carl Johan, &c, make known, &c. : 

u § 1. That it shall be forbidden in this kingdom to offer for sale or 
sell lobsters which do not have a minimum length of 8 inches, inclusive 
of the head and tail. For every lobster offered for sale or sold which 
shall not have this length, a fine of 24 cents shall be paid, half of which 
shall go to the police or custom-house officer, or any other person denounc- 
ing the offender, and the other half to the poor. All cases of this kind 
are to be brought before the police courts. 

" § 2. Lobsters which do not have the above-mentioned length shall not 
be exported." 

The Storthing committee which had to consider this matter hesitated 
to recommend to the Storthing the passage of this law, basing their ob- 
jections on several reports from the lobster-districts and on Professor 
Rathke's report. Their chief objection, however, was that the fisher- 
men would consider such a law as limiting their liberty, and, not being 


able to understand its utility, would thereby only be encouraged to fol- 
low the dictates of selfishness and transgress the law. It was, moreover, 
thought that it would be difficult to exercise any sufficient control, and 
that the trade would be injured thereby. The law was therefore not 
passed. This was the fourth time that a moderate proposition had 
been made to protect the lobster in order to avoid the total ruin of the 
fisheries. In the first proposal, by Judge Lorn, it had been suggested 
that the lobster should be protected at certain seasons of the year, when 
it spawns or sheds its shell, and likewise that those lobsters should be 
protected that had not reached a certain length. In the second, by Mr. 
Gjertsen, only a certain annual season of protection was suggested ; as 
was also done in the third, by Mr. Lundsgaard. The fourth, or govern- 
ment proposal, only suggested that lobsters below a certain size should 
not be caught. 

It was not long before there were again numerous complaints of the 
decrease in the number of lobsters, which, according to the testimony of 
impartial men, was owing to lobsters being caught at a time when they 
spawn and shed their shell. Before anything further was done in the 
matter, a fishery-commission that had been appointed made a proposal 
regarding the lobster-fisheries, which must be mentioned here. In 1840, 
the government appointed a commission to revise the fishery-laws. The 
following were members of this commission : Judge Landmark, Consul 
Meltzer, Messrs. Tangen and Moses, merchants, itev. (now Professor) 
Sars, and Chief Pilot Monsen. One passage of the law proposed by 
this commission reads as follows : u On their own property, as far as ten 
fathoms from the coast at low water, the owners shall have the exclusive 
privilege to catch all small fish, lobsters, and oysters, but any one may 
catch lobsters outside of unimproved land bounding the sea without 
regard to the distance from the coast." 

In this proposition, which, however, never became a law, the old idea 
is revived that the lobster-fisheries, properly speaking, belong to the 
landowners, which, in spite of the decree of 1728, had formed the sub- 
ject of discussion all through the last century. Even if this proposition 
had become a law, it would not have exercised any great influence on 
the lobster-fisheries, which are almost exclusively carried on along 
unimproved coasts which can scarcely ever be subjected to cultivation. 
No new law regarding the protection of lobsters was introduced in the 
next Storthing, but in 1845, when the Storthing had assembled, the de- 
partment of finance and customs received a letter from the agent of 
the English lobster-company in Stavanger that another English com- 
pany intended to continue the lobster-fisheries, which, in that district, 
usually cease toward the end of June, during July, August, and Sep- 
tember, hoping thereby to gain over the lobster-fisheries, and thus to 
destroy the trade of the other company. As this agent was afraid that 
fishing during these months would ruin the lobster-fisheries in this dis- 
trict for several years to come, he urged the department to introduce 


the royal proposition of a law in the Storthing, forbidding lobster-fish- 
ing from June 15 to October 15. The department requested the gov- 
ernor to give his opinion on the subject. He stated, as he had done on 
a former occasion, that such a law would be unnecessary, as the lobster 
is not fit to eat during those months, and none could therefore be ex- 
ported. During this and the following years lobsters were, nevertheless, 
caught and exported during those months, as the two companies vied 
with each other, each endeavoring to secure the trade. The price of 
lobsters rose considerably, and all those that were caught were bought 
up, even during the season when they spawn and shed their shell, 
although every one saw what iujury was being done, and although the 
mortality among the lobsters was great, and the consequent loss consid- 
erable. All this soon bore its fruit, but few lobsters being caught in 
1847 in those places where in 1845 fishing had been going on till the 
end of August, while the fisheries were productive in those places where 
they had ceased in July. All were now agreed that it was injurious to 
catch lobsters during the season of the year when they spawn and shed 
their shell, which, in the districts in question, was supposed to take 
place in August and September, and it became evident that such con- 
tinued fishing would in a short time drive the lobsters entirely from the 
coast. To prevent such a misfortune, the governor at last resolved to 
request the department to issue a provisional regulation, forbidding 
lobster-fishing during the months of August and September. The de- 
partment, however, again considered it necessary to get reports from 
the lobster-districts and from the agents of the English lobster-compa- 
nies. Some of these reports declared that lobster-fishing should be for- 
bidden from the middle of July till the middle of October ; others that 
there should be no fishing during August and September. The agent 
of an English lobster-company in Jarlsberg and Laurvig, however, ad- 
vised against any prohibition of the lobster-fisheries, saying that such 
a prohibition during the summer months would cause the English lob- 
ster-companies to stop this trade, ice hindering the fisheries in winter 
and spring, and storms those in the latter part of autumn, so that the 
fisheries commenced gradually in May and lasted till the end of Septem- 
ber. They are most productive in July, August, and September. The 
decrease of the lobster-fisheries he ascribed not to the summer fisheries, 
which were said to diminish the number of lobsters, but to the circum- 
stance that the people of the district devote their attention more to the 
profitable mackerel-fisheries. The governor was of the same opinion. A 
totally different opinion, however, was entertained by other competent and 
trustworthy persons in Laurvig and the neighborhood, who, from infor- 
mation obtained of the lobster-fishers of that district, judged that such a 
prohibition of fishing from the middle of July till the middle or end of 
September would have a favorable influence on the preservation of the 
lobsters. The governor of the Lister and Mandal districts showed in 
his report by examples from the years of war, that the more the lob- 


sters are protected, the more will they increase in number ; and their 
decrease since 1830 was almost unanimously ascribed to the summer 
fisheries, which are going on at a time when the lobsters spawn, although 
the spawning does not take place at the same time in every place. Such 
a prohibitory law would therefore be of great importance for the lob- 
ster-fisheries. It was true that, on the other hand, the trade would be 
somewhat inconvenienced by such a law, the prices would fall, and it 
would be necessary to modify time when fishing should be prohibited, 
according to different local circumstances. The reports which came in 
from the other districts likewise favored the prohibition of fishing 
during the months of July, August, and September, some even advising 
an extension of this time from May till October. Another agent of an 
English lobster-company, however, warned against any interference by 
law with this trade, particularly on account of the fishermen, who would 
not be able to earn their living during a great part of the year. The 
decrease of the fisheries was, in his opinion, chiefly caused by the fact 
that fewer men were employed in them, the increase of navigation and 
the rich herring and mackerel fisheries employing so many men. He 
supposed, moreover, that a law prohibiting the catching of lobsters during 
vl certain period would not prove beneficial to the lobster-trade, but that 
an undoubtedly more productive fishery during the months when fish- 
ing would be allowed would have a very injurious effect on the market. 
The Bergen Board of Trade were of opinion that such a prohibition, if 
it did not extend to the months of May, June, and July, would not dis- 
turb the fisheries in the Bergen district, which are chiefly carried on 
during these months, but that it would not be advisable to forbid fish- 
ing during these months. If it was absolutely necessary to pass some 
law for the preservation of the lobster, they would advise the govern- 
ment to take up the old proposition not to catch and sell lobsters meas- 
uring less than 8 inches. The governor of the North Bergen district 
considered it desirable that the lobsters should be protected from the 
middle of July till the middle of September. In Eomsdal, however, no 
prohibition was desired from June 15 till September 15, since fishing 
was going on during this very period. As so many different opinions had 
come from the different parts of the country, and as it seemed desirable 
o hear the opinion of several naturalists, Professor Rasch was requested 
by the government to prepare a law for the preservation of the lobster, 
giving the full reasons for such a law. In his report to the department, 
he first of all gave his view regarding the pairing-season, and then 
regarding the time which elapses between the pairing and the emission 
of the eggs from the ovary. He found that the pairing-season of the 
lobster extended over a long period of time, viz, from the time it first 
sheds its shell in September till April or May, but that the embryo does 
not develop till the heat of summer sets in, no matter whether the spawn- 
ing has taken place in autumn, winter, or spring. Most of them have 
their eggs hatched in July and August, and the young lobsters leave 
their mother from the middle of August till the middle of September. 


He had found, moreover, that the lobster was capable of propagating 
before it had reached a length of 8 inches. He would therefore pro- 
pose — 

a § 1. His Majesty may take measures for protecting the lobsters during 
a continuous period of two to three months annually in every district of 
the kingdom, at the request of the respective governors. 

" § 2. The season of protection shall in every case embrace the whole 
month of August. 

" § 3. The protection may extend both to males and females, or only to 
the latter. 

" § 4. Whoever catches lobsters, or offers them for sale, during the 
close season, in the district or districts where there is such a law, shall 
pay a fine of 24 cents for every lobster which is caught or offered for 
sale contrary to the law. 

" § 5. In the district or districts where protection extends only to the 
female lobsters, a fine of 24 cents apiece shall be paid by every one 
who, during the season of protection, allows female lobsters to be caught 
and offered for sale, or in any way trades in such. 

u § 6. The same fine shall be imposed on lobster-dealers or their agents 
if they receive and ship lobsters caught during the close season, in 
accordance with the law in force in the district in which the lobster- 
station is located. 

" § 7. The sums realized by these fines go half to the person who 
denounces the transgressor, and the other half to the poor-fund of the 
respective district. All such cases must be brought before the police 

Professor Easch has given his reasons for the provisions of the above 
law as follows : 

"Although there are frequent complaints that general game and fish- 
ing laws are not suited to all the districts of this large country, where 
the different degrees of latitude and local circumstances produce great 
differences with regard to the pairing-season, the periodical arrival, &c, 
of the same races of animals, he had in most cases found fewer differ- 
ences than one in general might be led to suppose. He proposed § 1 so 
that every district should have the season of protection best suited to 
its v circumstances." 

Kegarding § 2 he says : 

"As in his opinion it seemed sufficiently proved that the most prolific 
hatching-season occurs in the month of August, even in the most north- 
erly portions of the country where lobster-fishing is carried on, he 
thought that, in all cases, this month should be included in the season 
of protection." 

Kegarding § 3, he thought that the strictness of the protection might 
be relaxed a little in those districts where the summer fisheries, on 
account of peculiar circumstances, cannot be entirely stopped without 
immediate loss to the poor coast-population. He thought, moreover, 


that by protecting only the female lobsters the purpose of the law with 
regard to the preservation of the species will be just as fully answered 
as by protecting both sexes during the same period of time. The objec- 
tion may be raised that it will be difficult to distinguish between a 
female without outside roe and a male ; but the difference of sex is so 
great that a fisherman may be able to tell it at the first glance. Nor 
would he only protect those lobsters which have outside roe, as this may 
easily be scraped off. Irregularities of the normal sexual relations will 
be of very little importance, as most of the females which have been 
protected will be caught by the fishermen when the season of protection 
is over, as they go but a short distance from the place where they stay. 
The objection made to the law that it would force the fishermen to 
return the products of the sea to it, he considers to be of great import- 
ance ; but he hoped that they would see what a great risk they ran by 
unlawful fishing, and be convinced that protection will in the long run 
benefit their trade. 

From the above it will be seen that, with the exception of the gov- 
ernors of Jarlsberg and Laurvig and two of the lobster-agents, all local 
authorities and competent men were in favor of the opinion that the 
decrease in the number of lobsters noticed during the last few years 
had been caused by too extensive fishing during that part of summer 
when the lobster spawns, and had considered a law prohibiting lobster- 
fishing during a certain period of summer and autumn as the only 
effective means of protecting this important animal. But others, we 
see, wished to have the protection extended from June or May till 
October; others only from July to September; and others, again, only to 
August and September. Both in Sweden and Heligoland there are laws 
prohibiting the catching and selling of lobsters from July 1 till Septem- 
ber 15, and in Scotland it is forbidden, under a penalty of £5 each, to 
catch lobsters from June 1 till September 1 ; and in England no lobster 
is allowed to be sold which measures less than 8 inches. The govern- 
ment also considered that protection during the season of the year when 
the hatching is chiefly going on would answer the purpose, and that it 
could be more easily maintained than a law prohibiting the fishing and 
selling of lobsters below a certain size. As the young are chiefly hatched 
during the month of August, but also during July and September, the 
government thought that August should be included in every close 
season, while it should be left to the local authorities, with royal 
approbation, to extend this legal season of protection to July and Sep- 
tember, in accordance with the local circumstances of every district. 
By adopting these measures, the trade would not be restricted to any 
serious extent. This was also granted by the commissioners of the 
English lobster-companies, and, as far as the fishermen are affected, they 
can easily find work in nearly every part of the kingdom during August, 
while, on the other hand, the protection of lobsters during a certain 
period will make the fisheries all the more productive during the months 


when fishing is allowed. With regard to the other objections to limit- 
ing the fisheries during the summer months, viz, that in the districts of 
Roinsdal, Jarlsberg, and Laurvig they are only carried on from the 
beginning of spring or summer till some time in fall, the government 
remarked that this could scarcely be caused by any special arrangements 
of the lobsters on these parts of the coast, but is a natural consequence 
of the circumstance that the fishermen in the district of Eomsdal during 
spring and autumn are employed in the great fisheries, while in the dis- 
tricts of Jarlsberg and Laurvig this is caused by the natural hinderances of 
ice and storms during spring and autumn. But especially in these dis- 
tricts a law prohibiting fishing during the month of August could not 
limit this trade very much, compared with the beneficial consequences 
which such a law would have. The government thought that the pro- 
hibition should extend both to male and female lobsters, which opinion 
was finally also shared by Rasch. The government also proposed that 
the law forbidding the export of lobsters should extend the time when 
export was not allowed eight days beyond the end of the close season, 
so as to enable the fishermen to fish up to the very commencement of 
the close season. 

On January 26, 1848, the king signed the following proposition for a 
law for the protection of lobsters, to be laid before the Storthing during 
its next session : 

" We, Oscar, &c, make known : 

"For some time complaints have been made that the number of lob- 
sters on the coasts of the kingdom has decreased considerably, espe- 
cially since the year 1830. Competent men have been consulted as to 
the possible causes of this phenomenon, as likewise as to the means by 
which the lobster might be preserved, and a royal proposition for a law 
forbidding the catching or export of lobsters measuring less than 8 
inches in length was laid before the Storthing, but was not passed. Re- 
newed complaints of the great decrease in the number of lobsters have 
recently come from several parts of the country, petitions have been 
sent in asking that the catching of lobsters at certain seasons of the 
year might be forbidden, and from the information received on this 
point it has been considered absolutely necessary, for the preservation 
of the lobster, to fix by law a certain season of protection for this ma- 
rine animal. 

" His Majesty would therefore invite the attention of the Storthing of 
the kingdom of Norway to this subject, and ask them to pass a law re- 
garding the protection of lobsters, in accordance with the accompanying 
draft : 


" 1. It shall be forbidden to catch or sell lobsters during the month 
of August. 


tf 2. In accordance with a request made by the respective local au- 
thorities, the above-mentioned period may be extended in the different 
districts by the king, but it shall in no place last longer than from July 
1 to September 30. 

u 3. The fishing or selling of lobsters during a period when it is for- 
bidden in accordance with § 1 and 2 is punished with a fine of 24 cents 
for every lobster caught or offered for sale contrary to law. 

" 4. All cases arising from transgressions of the regulations con- 
tained in § 1 and 2 must be brought before the police courts. If any one 
is accused of such transgression, the chief of police in the district shall 
get his declaration whether he is willing to pay the fines. If he is will- 
ing and does not possess the necessary amount of money, it shall be 
levied on his property. If, on the other hand, the accused denies his 
guilt, or refuses to pay, the above-mentioned officer shall have the mat- 
ter investigated and settled. The fines shall be divided between the 
informer and the local poor-fund. 

"5. During the period when in accordance with § 1 and 2 it is forbidden 
to catch or offer for sale lobsters, as well as duriug eight days following 
the end of this period, it shall likewise be forbidden to ship lobsters to 
foreign parts. Attempted or actual transgression of this article shall 
be punished in the same manner as provided in the law of September 20, 
1845, regarding attempted or actual smuggling. 

" 6. This law shall take effect January 1, 1849." 

In the committee to which the royal proposition was assigned for con- 
sideration, the first two articles were changed, so as to make the season 
of protection stricter. In the royal proposition, the local authorities 
could under special circumstances propose that the season of protection 
be extended to the months before and after August; but the committee 
were of the opinion that the law should be enforced during a longer 
period, but in special cases the local authorities might propose that it 
should be limited to the month of August, to such a degree had public 
opinion changed in favor of such a protective law. 

When the matter was discussed in the Storthing April 29, 1848, not a 
voice was raised against a protective law, but the discussion was chiefly 
as to whether the law should be adopted in its stricter form as recom- 
mended by the committee, or as proposed by the government. The law 
was finally adopted in the form recommended by the committee, modified 
by an amendment that the season of protection should last from July 15 
till the end of September. The first portion of § 5 was also changed so 
as to read as follows : " Eight days after the beginning of the period 
during which in accordance with § 1 and 2 it is forbidden to catch lob- 
sters or offer them for sale till eight days after the end of this period, it 
shall be likewise forbidden to ship lobsters to foreign parts." As for the 
rest, the law was passed in the shape recommended by the committee ; 
a motion to change the above-mentioned eight days to twelve days or 


three weeks being lost, as likewise another motion that the law should 
not come in force till January 1, 1850. 

The law, which was adopted in the same shape by both houses of the 
Storthing, and was sanctioned by the king, came to read as follows : 

" 1. It shall be forbidden to catch or offer for sale lobsters during the 
period from July 15 till the end of September. 

" 2. In accordance with a request from the respective local authorities, 
this period may be limited in different districts by the king ; but the 
season of prohibition must in every case embrace the whole month of 

3 and 4 are entirely as in the royal proposition. 

" 5. From eight days after the beginning of the period during which, 
in accordance with 1 and 2, it is forbidden to catch lobsters or offer them 
for sale, till eight days after the end of this period, it shall likewise be 
forbidden to export lobsters to foreign parts. 

"6. This law shall come into force January 1, 1849." 

By this law, which forbids all fishing during two and a half months, 
the yield of the fisheries was of course somewhat diminished during the 
first years following its passage, till the protected young could reach the 
necessary size. Thus fewer were exported in 1849 and 1850 than during 
the preceding years, so that, while from 1846 to 1848 about 600,000 were 
exported, the number had sunk to 408,310 in 1849 and 427,600 in 1850. 
This decrease, however, is not merely owing to the circumstance, 
that the number which were usually caught during the close months 
remained in the sea, but likewise to the fact that the English joint-stock 
company which carried on the exportation from the districts of Jarls- 
berg and Laurvig began to pay a lower price for the lobsters, so that 
the fishermen resolved no longer to catch any even during those months 
when they were permitted to do so. While from this district there 
were from 1846 to 1848 on an average about 26,000 exported every year, 
only 7,960 were exported in 1849, 1,664 in 1850, and none at all during 
the following years ; but, in 1855, 14,470 were again exported, chiefly to 
Copenhagen. Since 1850, the lobster-trade has steadily increased, and 
the governors, in their quinquennial reports on the economical condition 
of their respective districts, state that protection seems to have pro- 
duced this result. 

In the district of Stavanger, the exports rose, from 1850, when they 
amounted to 120,653, to 204,803 in 1854 ; in the South Bergen district, 
it is also stated that the fisheries have increased. Of the following 
years, the least productive was 1858, when the exports from the whole 
kingdom only amounted to 553,238, on account of unfavorable weather 
during the whole fishing-season ; but, in 1860, the number had again 
risen to 1,333,037, and kept tolerably steady during the following years, 
so that the exports during these years were about the same as during 
the years 1825- , 30, when they were at their highest, only to decrease 
very rapidly during the following years. In 1860, the exports rose to 


1,000,000, and increased constantly, till in 18G5 they very nearly reached 
2,000,000, viz, 1,956,276. 

The complaints regarding the protective law have now ceased, since 
the government has in several districts limited it by royal decrees, and 
in many places the people are rather inclined to extend the season of 
protection than to limit it as, in the district of Stavanger, where 
two years ago public opinion was in favor of prohibiting all fishing 
during autumn and winter, as it was thought that thereby the spring 
and summer fisheries would become all the more productive. As a 
general rule, no lobsters are exported from there in autumn and winter, 
except when some new English companies want to get into the lobster- 
trade and therefore buy the lobsters at a higher price than is usually 
paid, so as to ruin their rivals. Then all the lobsters that can be got 
are generally bought during autumn, as was the case in 1845 and 1846, 
and to some extent in 1864 and 1865. During the last-mentioned year, 
such a large quantity of lobsters was caught on account of the unusually 
calm weather, that the Englishman who had urged the fishermen to 
fish could not take more than one-third of all that had been caught, 
and the rest died, without being of use to any one. One reason why the 
fishermen wish to see this autumn fishing forbidden by law is that even 
if they were unanimous as to its injurious character, all of them would, 
though unwillingly, take their part in it, if a small number of fishermen 
moved by covetousness were to catch lobsters, and if there should be a 
chance of selling them at that season, because they suppose that those 
lobsters which they would otherwise get in spring would now be caught 
by others in autumn, which would injure their trade very much. 

As the privileges which at different times had been granted to the 
lobster-shippers were not the same in every place, because the ports 
for shipping lobsters were established as necessity arose, and on that 
occasion got certain privileges, these must naturally differ a great deal 
according to the views prevalent at the time when the ports were 
established. Such regulations regarding the ports of Espevaer, Salt- 
hellern, and Rognesund from the year 1798, have already been com- 
municated, and similar ones have existed in other ports. These regula- 
tions were certainly modified a great deal in course of time ; but the 
Danish-Norwegian government inclined to keep privileges that had 
once been granted unchanged as far as was possible, and these privi- 
leges could consequently not become uniform till our days. In order to 
do this, the department of finance and customs issued a circular, da.ted 
December 11, 1865, to the following effect: 

"As the privileges which have been granted by decrees published 
from time to time to the lobster-trade in different places of the kingdom 
partly differ somewhat as to their character without there being suffi- 
cient reason therefor, and are partly scattered in a manner which makes 
supervision difficult, the department has thought proper to make the 
following general regulations regarding the privileges that shall be in 


force with regard to this trade, and which, with the exception of the 
additional regulation regarding the calculation of ship-dues, agree 
entirely with those which are for the time being in force in most of the 
custom-stations on the southern coast : 

" 1. Arriving lobster- vessels which intend to take lobsters in an outer 
port, if they do not contain any goods subject to duty, but only ballast, 
may be exempt from stopping at the custom-house to which the outer 
port belongs, if the shipper immediately on his arrival reports himself 
to the custom-house officer who may be stationed at that place, but if 
there is no such custom -station there, at the nearest custom station, 
where the custom-house officers may examine the vessel. 

" 2. Such vessels as have arrived in the outer port are exempt from 
making their declaration at the custom-house before they commence to 
take their cargo of lobsters; but, when they commence, thev shall be 
obliged to mention the exact number of lobsters which they intend to 

" 3. Such vessels are permitted to make their declaration before the 
custom-house at the same time with giving the quantity of lobsters about 
to be exported. 

" 4. Such vessels, after having thus obtained their custom-house 
papers for a certain quantity of lobsters, if they cannot get the quantity 
mentioned in the port where they take their cargo, may take the lob- 
sters that are wanting to make up the quantity mentioned in the papers, 
in another port, either iu the same custom-house district or in another. 
The following, however, must be observed : 

u a. The custom-house officer stationed in the port shall mention in 
the papers the exact number of lobsters that have been taken there, and 
the custom-house officers in the port or ports which may be entered 
afterward shall examine in how far the number of lobsters received 
agrees with the number of lobsters specified in the papers. 

"b. If the lobsters are shipped in places where there is no custom- 
house, the company's commissioner, or, if there is none, the person who 
sorts the lobsters, may mention in the papers what number of lobsters 
have been taken, whereupon the vessel may sail ; but a copy of the 
papers made under oath must immediately be sent to the nearest custom- 

u c. The respective custom-house officer thereupon shall, in the case 
mentioned under a, send a report regarding the insertion in the papers to 
the custom-house to which he belongs, and shall, in the cases mentioned 
under 6, send the declaration of the persons who sorted the lobsters. 

" d. If the lading is completed in a district belonging to another 
custom-house than the one where the lobster- vessel has commenced to 
lade, the reports and declarations mentioned under b and c shall be 
immediately sent by the custom-house where they have been received 
to that custom-house where the lading has commenced, so that th6 
officers belonging to the latter may be able to determine in how far the 
17 F 


exports from all the ports correspond with the number of lobsters for 
which duty has been paid. It is of course understood that the above- 
mentioned reports and declarations must give the name of the vessel 
and its captain, as well as the number and date of the custom-house 
passport, and state by which custom-house the latter has been issued. 

"5. If the captains of lobster-vessels find occasion to take a larger num- 
ber of lobsters than is mentioned in their papers, either in the same port 
or other ports, this may be done without any hinderance by the custom- 
bouse officers, and in this case everything regarding the insertion in the 
papers and the reports and declarations that are to be given is to be 
done exactly as mentioned in No. 4. This is done, however, under the 
condition that the shipper immediately pays the export-dues for the 
extra number of lobsters taken, and that the custom-house officer in 
the above-mentioned reports and declarations certifies that the vessel 
has exported this extra number. In so far, however, as an arriving lob- 
ster-vessel brings goods which have to pay duty, the regulations men- 
tioned in Nos. 1 and 2, without regard to the quality and quantity of the 
goods, cannot be applied to the vessel, but it must first get the required 
permit to pass in, and therefore go up to the custom-house, and there 
undergo the same treatment as other arriving vessels, whereupon it 
may proceed to the place of lading. If it is found that exporters, 
sorters, or shippers do not observe the conditions under which the above- 
mentioned privileges have been given, these shall be revoked, according 
to circumstances, either for a vessel, for a port, or for a certain part of 
the coast. The custom-house officers shall see to it, as far as circum- 
stances and the above-mentioned regulations allow, that no abuses creep 
in, and that if there should be any, they are immediately made known 
to the respective authorities. 

With regard to the ship-dues of such vessels as take in cargoes of 
lobsters outside the custom-houses, in conformity with the privileges 
granted to them, it has been found convenient, in order to have a uni- 
form mode of proceeding, to calculate their dues in future always as 
of vessels whose cargo exceeds one-fourth of the carrying capacity." 


The following is the report of M. L. Perrin 3 employed by Mr. Livingston Stone, for 
the California Fish Commission, in the transportation of live lobsters upon the Cali- 
fornia aquarium car, June, 1874. — [S. F. Baird.] 

The lobsters were procured from Messrs. Johnson & Young's lobster- 
house, Charlestown -street bridge, Boston, and pains were taken by 
these gentlemen to give all the aid in their power toward the undertak- 
ing. Upon a special car from Boston to Charlestown, K". H., June 3, 
were packed the 150 lobsters in seven pine boxes 3J feet long, ^5 inches 
wide, and 15 inches deep. The boxes were divided into two compart- 
ments, an upper and a lower, by a partition, making two tiers, and 11 
lobsters were placed in each tier, save one. On this trip to Charlestown 
they were not packed with straw beneath them, but lay upon the wood, 
with sponges over and around them. We were sorry at the time for 
this mistake, but from experiments afterward I decided that they were 
as well situated as if laid upon straw. Six casks of ocean -water, each 
containing 149 gallons, were obtained that morning and loaded upon 
the car. Most of the sea-water was put into the two salt- waters tanks 
in the aquarium-car. These tanks were made of hard wood and 
smeared with a mixture of resin and tallow in order to be water-tight, 
and during part of the overland journey salt-water fish were in these 
tanks. One cask of sea-water was loaded, unopened, upon the aqua- 
rium-car to be used for the lobsters during the last days of the trip, 
that from the tanks being used for awhile. The sea-water was ob- 
tained outside Boston Harbor, beyond the " Graves," in order that it 
might be purer. That which had been got two days previously for the 
same purpose was procured from Nahant, but the aquarium-car not 
starting that day made it necessary to get some more so as to have it 
fresh. We procured 35 pounds of sponges, most of which were used in 
the beginning before many lobsters had died, but afterward were not 
needed. The sponges were soaked with salt water, and each lobster 
was completely hidden by the wet sponges. Salt water was p'oured 
upon all the lobsters, and all the sponges newly wetted once during the 
trip to Charlestown. The lobsters were all alive when reaching Charles- 

At Charlestown, Thursday morning, June 4, the lobsters were taken 
from the boxes in which they had been brought from Boston and re- 
packed in boxes without covers, divided by partitions into twelve apart- 
ments. The surface- extent of these apartments was just enough to ad- 


mit one lobster lying within it — smaller than was well for them. The 
depth of the apartments was about 6 inches, and the bottoms were bored 
with an auger-hole to allow drainage. A handful of wet straw was put 
in each apartment and a lobster laid upon it, then sponges dripping 
with salt water were placed above and around it until quite concealed 
from sight and from dry air by this stratum of wet sponges. 

There were twelve of these boxes, each containing twelve above-de- 
scribed apartments, placed in the aquarium-car, one upon another, in 
two piles of six boxes each, against the side of the car. In going over 
the lobsters twice a day, the boxes were taken down and the sponges 
were removed from the lobsters one at a time and squeezed over the 
animal, which, if alive, will respond to it by blinking its eyes and 
stretching its claws, perhaps moving its body a little. The sponges 
were then dipped into a pailful of sea- water and wetted again, and were 
carefully arranged as before about the lobster. Pieces of ice which an- 
other person had been breaking up meanwhile were strewn over each 
box, among the apartments and sponges, to keep cool the water in the 
sponges and the moisture in the straw and around the lobster. It was 
slow work, and the lobsters were too much exposed during the opera- 
tions. Often, after the boxes were piled up again, pailsful of salt water 
were poured over the whole. During the first two or three days only a 
few were found dead when they were repacked. 

At noon, Saturday, June 6, sixty lobsters were put into one of the 
large salt-water tanks with the striped bass and some other salt-water 
fish. Into this tank, as into all the others, air was continually forced 
through hose from the air force-pumps, kept in motion by a band pass- 
ing around the axle of a pair of the car- wheels. The lobsters in this 
salt water, the next morning, at Chicago, appeared to be doiug very 
well; but Sunday afternoon the lid of this tank was discovered to have 
fallen, and upon raising it all the lobsters were found dead. The fish 
also in the tank were dead. Whether the falling of the lid was the 
cause of their death, we could not quite decide ; but it seemed very 
probable that it was because the air pumped into the tank after the lid 
fell, having no means of escape at the top of the tank, exerted a great 
pressure upon the water and in this way killed them, and also because 
of the impure air which was confined inside for some time without being 
replaced by purer. The fact that the fish died also shows that it was 
some external calamity common to them both. The wooden tauks, the 
mixture of resin and tallow, though but little, with which the tank was 
smeared, the number in one tank, and the company with the fish, are 
also variable quantities whose effects might be discussed relative to 
this result and also to the result of the experiment which was thus 
checked. Therefore this case should not be considered a fair experi- 
ment and as deciding whether lobsters cannot be transported healthily, 
in an open tank of salt water, into which air is continually forced, 
without changing the salt water itself, and kept constantly at a low 


temperature. I neglected to mention that upon the top of the tank 
much ice had been kept and stored ; in this way keeping the salt water 
within the tank quite cold without freshening it and diluting it, which 
would have been caused by ice put into the salt water to cool it. The 
death of these sixty reduced the number of lobsters materially. 

About this time on, the trip slats were laid upon the two piles of 
lobster-boxes, and about 500 pounds of ice kept on them, when the 
lobsters were not being attended to. Lobsters will live well until 
the fourth or fifth day, but in the present case, if at any time of 
repacking them I did not find from one-third to one-half of the residue 
dead each time, I considered it very fortunate. I went over them 
twice a day; so that if, at every time of repacking, one-third to one-half 
were to be thrown away, the number of live lobsters would be rapidly 
reduced, as was indeed the case. Monday, June 8, there were only 
20 left alive. Nor is there any regularity in their dying; those treated 
the most carefully and faithfully die as readily as the neglected ; and 
those handled much live as well as the undisturbed. After the fifth 
day crowds of lobsters take offense at something, and revenge them- 
selves by dying. The reason of their death was wrapt in mystery. 
Numerous experiments always failed to bring any regular results, 
and nothing certain could be gleaned from them. Theorizing about 
lobsters' chances of life is vain when applied in practice. There 
seems to be a wide diversity in their constitutions, though unseen and 
imperceptible. Certain lobsters live well and persistently, while others 
destined to die beforehand do so irregularly and for an unassignable 
cause. It is easy to decide whether a lobster is dead. If so, its muscles 
are all relaxed, and when lifted up, its claws, instead of remaining hori- 
zontally out from the body, hang down. This is especially true of the 
large front claws, but not always of the small ones, which sometimes 
hang down when the lobster is alive, or are straightened when dead ; 
the front claws, however, are decisive. If, on the other hand, the crea- 
ture is alive, it will sometimes move its long feelers when the sponge 
is lifted, and move its claws, and often its body; but the constant as 
well as sure criterion is that when a sponge full of salt water 
is squeezed over its head, it will always answer it by blinking or draw- 
ing in its eyes, if alive. When lifted it will struggle; but it is a 
bad plan to raise them, unless necessary, though this is better than to 
molest and agitate too much, without lifting them, when arranging the 
sponges or ice about them. 

We were using a good deal of salt water, and Monday, the fifth day 
from starting, it became evident that we had not enough on board for 
the whole journey. We disliked to use the salt water from the tanks in 
which fish were or had been ; and there was not much of that. There- 
fore we opened the reserve cask of 149 gallons of unused salt water, 
and telegraphed the same day to the commissioners of California to 


send by freight some Pacific Ocean water to meet us on the route as 
soon as possible. 

Being afraid that the ice which I was in the habit of putting around 
the sponges and among the apartments was, by its melting and the 
resultant water, making too fresh the atmosphere with which the 
lobsters were surrounded, inasmuch, as it diluted the salt water, I tried 
with some the effect of leaving off the ice for a few times. The results 
were not satisfactory, and proved that omitting the ice was not a 
good thing ; the lobsters would not do as well without it. The coldness 
gained by using the ice was even more indispensable than the saltness 
of the water, which of course must be quite necessary. It is not well to 
use too small pieces of broken ice, because they melt more rapidly ; and 
in order to exert the required influence in producing coldness, the 
pieces of ice must be so near the lobsters that, in melting as fast as 
small pieces do, the salt water in and around the sponges becomes 
more freshened than if larger pieces of ice were used. It is much better 
that the ice, in either case, should not touch the sponges, if the requisite 
coldness can be attained without, and if room is abundant; and still bet- 
ter would it be if the ice could be so arranged that, while producing 
the necessary low temperature, the water resulting from its melting 
should not mingle with the salt water nor strike anything connected 
with the lobsters. There can be no doubt but that having as low a 
temperature as possible is one of the greatest desiderata in the care of 
lobsters. A refrigerating apparatus would avoid the troubles with the 
ice spoken of above and be much more effectual than the primitive method 
followed on this trip. The protection which the ice provided in this 
case against currents of warm air was not thorough and complete, and 
great harm was surely done at the places and times where the defense 
was insufficient ; and still more grew out of the fickleness of its protec- 
tion. Every time the car-doors were opened or the atmosphere around 
the lobster-boxes disturbed, there inevitably rushed upon them a draught 
of warm and dry but injurious air, fatal at once to a lobster in case 
the current strikes it. There must be some medium, as a wide or at 
least constant stratum of moist atmosphere, to guard the lobster against 
this destructive air; and at the same time that it would prevent this 
evil, it should produce the needed low temperature. A refrigerating 
arrangement would naturally make the care of the lobsters much more 
convenient as well as more successful. Sometimes when lobsters died 
1 put ice in the apartments left by them instead of upon the sponges of 
the live lobsters. The dripping of this ice upon the apartments below 
was not good ; but when the lobsters were few in number, I arranged 
them so that the ice apartments all came under each other, and their 
dripping did not affect the lobsters. This plan seemed to work favor- 
ably for the lobsters. I doubt if it was best to do as was done with 
the boxes on this trip. Two small sticks were laid across the top of each 
box before the next was placed upon it. In this way a circulation of 


fresh air was secured, but I suspect that other qualities in the air coun- 
terbalanced this, and did much harm. 

Tuesday, June 9, 1 took the straw from beneath every living lobster, 
and packed them all entirely with sponges. The rate of mortality de- 
creased decidedly, and I am inclined to believe that without this 
change none would have lived to the end. The best way undoubtedly 
to pack a lobster is with sponges above, around, and beneath it, and 
also a small one directly under its nose. The straw is quite bad for 
them to lie upon, because their claws become entangled in it, and it re- 
strains them. This is very bad for a lobster. They should suffer no 
pressure or restraint. For this reason we were afterward glad that no 
straw had been used (by mistake as we thought) in their trip from 
Boston to Oharlestown. I also tore out the partitions of several boxes, 
and found it much better; they were more active when opened, and 
appeared more healthy. The partitions offer a restraint to them, and 
are consequently injurious. When in an apartment with partitions, they 
never staid in the middle, but worked themselves over to one side, and 
struggled against the wooden partition ; in this way tiring themselves 
out, which is of course an evil. A lobster needs room to stretch all its 
limbs, if it wants to do so. For this reason they are better in boxes 
without partitions, provided they are not near enough together to bite 
each other. Eubber bands around the claws are an extreme case of 
restraint, and are extremely pernicious. Treated in this way, the ani- 
mals live only a few days. Struggling is very detrimental to the vigor 
of a lobster; therefore they should not be restrained ; for as surely as 
they are they will struggle against it, and not violently, but slowly, 
almost imperceptibly. There is a reacting impulse in the lobster against 
confinement. Though they do not move much, they need freedom to 
move, or there is an incentive to struggle. Therefore it would seem, 
as is truly the case, that, other things being equal, unrestraiued lob- 
sters have the best chances for life. 

Pressure is as injurious as restraint. Sponges exert but very little 
pressure upon them, and they can easily move their claws amoug 
them. Ice must not cause any pressure upon the animal, nor must 
it freshen the water — another requirement met by a refrigerating ap- 
paratus. To prevent this pressure on the trip, I laid the ice as much 
as possible across the tops of the partitions and not above the lobsters. 

Wednesday, June 10, at Ogden, Utah, we left one pair to be put into 
Salt Lake. Two very healthy and active lobsters were chosen, to make 
sure of this attempt, if possible. They were put into a box packed 
entirely in sponges, and I gave instructions, and some salt water, to 
Mr. A. P. Eockwood, of Salt Lake City, Superintendent of Fisheries, 
who was personally to take charge of them. When leaving Utah, 
Wednesday night, we were reduced to eight lobsters and one pail- 
ful of salt water. Extra salt water is needed, not only to prevent 
the moisture in and around the sponges from becoming too fresh by 


melting of the ice, and other causes, but also to wet the sponges with 
when they become dry. It is a good thing, and quite necessary, often to 
pour salt water over the lobsters and sponges, without uupacking, in 
order to give them a change of water. It is well to repack them twice 
a day; but a liberal supply of new saltwater should be poured over 
them at least once in three hours. The shell of the lobster must always 
be wet. Not only should the lobster touch nothing else but wet sponge, 
but it is indispensable also that it should be everywhere in contact with 
a wet sponge. It must nowhere be bare and exposed to the air, for the 
water upon its surface will quickly evaporate ; and should you see a lob- 
ster with a dry spot on its back, you may be sure of its death shortly. A 
current of warm dry air, if endured even for a moment, is the lobster's 
worst enemy. 

Thursday, June 11, near Beowawe, Nevada, a freight-train met us, 
bringing from the Pacific Ocean four barrels and four tin tanks of salt 
water. The water in the tin tanks was of course useless, but the rest 
was welcome and immediately used. The effect of an abundance of salt 
water was evident in the appearance of the lobsters. Repacking as 
often as three hours would be impossible for one person, if many lob- 
sters were taken, and furthermore useless, and, what is a more import- 
ant fact, which should be avoided; it would disturb the lobster, and if 
packed entirely in sponge, it would be necessary to lift the animal each 
time. It is much better to prepare the boxes for thorough drainage, 
and then pour on a good supply of salt water as often as once in three 
hours. The ideal condition of a lobster is, unrestrained, very cold, 
(aud evenly so,) constantly wet with salt water, which should not 
become freshened by any agency, but often changed ; and when in as 
good condition as possible, then disturb them just as little as possible. 
Lobsters can easily be killed with care. 

Upon reaching San Francisco Bay, four lobsters were alive. These 
were put into the sea at Oakland wharf, Friday afternoon, June 12, 
nine days after they had been taken from the Atlantic ocean. It would 
have been better had the commissioners ordered them to be put farther 
out to sea, where the water was not so warm, and more salty. The four 
lobsters themselves probably did not live; but two were very full of 
spawn, and this probably matured. The death of a female lobster does not 
kill the spawn attached, which may live quite awhile afterward ; and if, as 
in the present case, the spawn reaches again the natural condition of 
things (of the ocean) in safety, it matters not whether the parent lives. 
The faets that these four lobsters were females, and that their spawn 
lived and hatched, show that the eggs of the lobster are impregnated 
before leaving the female, and not afterward, as is the case with fishes. 
As a rule the females of lobsters are stronger and longer-lived, under 
difficulties, than males ; and of females, spawning ones are the strongest. 

Lobsters differ so much in constitution that, in order to succeed in 
the transportation of say ten animals, one cannot take them and attend 


to them carefully, thus bringing the desired result, but many must be 
taken in order to insure the chances for the safety and success of the 
ten. It is like throwing a die to bring a certain number: it is ineffect- 
ual and useless to throw ouce and more carefully that time, but many 
throws must be bargained for to insure success once. In the same way 
this difference in the constitution, original healthiness, and chances of 
life, affect the certainty of experimenting. 

In order to transport live lobsters, it is without question indispensa- 
ble to have a special car for the purpose, or at least one which shall run 
the whole journey. An excellent degree of coldness can more readily 
be preserved in the undisturbed atmosphere of an aquarium-car than 
in a constantly shifting express-car. The ice melts less, and the moist- 
ure does not evaporate so fast. In an express-car there are no facili- 
ties for soaking and drenching the lobsters and for changing the water 
often upon them by pouring from pails or by means of many devices, 
which can easily be arranged in a special car. In such a car the water 
which flows off the lobsters can readily run out of the car or through 
holes bored in the floor, and that which does not is in no danger of ruin- 
ing any valuable express- matter. An excellent refrigerating arrange- 
ment can be prepared, if to be stationary, and to go from beginning to 
end with the lobsters. A great deal of room in which to work is very 
necessary, and cannot be dependent upon the amount of express which 
happens to be on board. Draughts of warm and dry air, which rush in 
from the four doors of an express-car, when open to receive or deliver 
goods at every station, and which, as we have seen, are extremely 
injurious, are avoided by a special car. Lobsters cannot be packed so as 
to be transferred at railroad junctions and changes of express compan- 
ies. They cannot with success be portably arranged, but must be so 
situated that they can easily be attended to. The impracticability of 
interrupting the person in charge, when repacking the lot of lobsters 
in order to prepare for a change of cars, determines at once as infeasi- 
ble the plan of carrying live lobsters by express. The jarring and dis- 
turbance which they would suffer in a few changes of cars would soon 
end their existence. Furthermore, the transferring of the numerous 
necessary tools, and especially the casks of salt water, would be a very 
weighty item. 

Though successful in the life of the innumerable spawn which lived 
and have hatched since deposited in the bay of San Francisco, the effort 
of this year was accompanied with many results which need not be con- 
sidered as necessarily attendant upon the transportation of live lobsters ; 
but in order to get a knowledge of these needless evils, and those which 
are to be avoided, as well as of the means for promoting success, it is 
necessary once to make the attempt and search them out by experience. 

Respectfully submitted. 



[Translated from the Danish.] 

There is one point in the natural history of the common lobster 
(Homarus vulgaris) which, till quite recently, has been but little known, 
although the lobster is one of those crustaceans whose anatomy and physi- 
ology have been studied most thoroughly, and that is the period of its 
development from the time it begins to lead an independent life. The 
roe which the female lobster carries under the back part of its body has 
been repeatedly examined as far as that stage where the fully-developed 
embryo is surrounded by the thin white of the egg ; in examining the 
embryo it has been found that, as in other crustaceans, it is born as a 
being unlike the grown lobster, and that during its later development it 
undergoes metamorphoses. 

Prof. G. O. Sars of Christiania has recently endeavored to throw more 
light on this comparatively dark period in the life of the lobster, and 
the results of his investigation are contained in his treatise u Om Sum- 
merens postembryonale Udvilding,' 7 published in the Christiana " VidensJcabs- 
Selskalbs Forhandlinger n for 1874. He, as well as Prof. Sidney I. Smith in 
New Haven, who about the same time examined the development 
of the American lobster, (Early Stages of the American Lobster, with 5 
plates, by Sidney I. Smith, from the Transactions of the Connecticut 
Academy, vol. ii,) has shown three larvae-stages in the development of 
the lobster, and found that the young lobster after it is hatched spends 
the first portion of its life near the surface of the water, where it be- 
comes an easy prey to its many enemies, as, especially during the period 
when it changes from a larvae to its adult form, it is but little skilled 
in swimming. 

While the investigations of two naturalists have thus yielded new 
and valuable contributions to the natural history of the lobster, inter- 
esting facts regarding the young lobster's mode of life have been dis- 
covered by other men. 

Along that part of the Norwegian coast where the lobster-fisheries 
are carried on on a large scale, aud where they become a source of con- 
siderable income to the inhabitants, there are ample opportunities for 
observing what an enormous number of young lobsters are destroyed 
every year, partly by their natural enemies, and partly by the strong 
wind from the sea which drives them on the coast, where they remain 
on dry land when the tide has gone out. Several men in the district 

# Oai Forsog med kunstig Udklaekning af Hummer, ny ra}kke=new series, in "Nor- 
disk Tidsskrift for Fiskeri," ny Rrakke of Tidsskrift for Fiskeri, 2 en Aargang, pp. 

184-188, 1875. 


of Stavauger, viz, Mr. Lorange, a civil engineer, Mr. Olsen, a teacher, 
and two merchants, Messrs. Andr. Hansen and H. Hansen, in 1873, united 
with a view to making experiments whether it would not be possible to 
protect the tender young of the lobster by hatching them in boxes or 
small basins, where they could find a place of refuge till they were so 
far developed as to take care of themselves. As these first experiments 
seemed to augur well, they received, at their request, aid from the Royal 
Society for the promotion of the Industries of Norway, (Kgl. Selskab 
for Norges Vel.,) to enable them to continue their experiments in 1874. 

For this purpose, they inclosed a sheet of water by building a strong 
wall at each end of a sound, between two small islands in the Veafjord, 
not far from Kopervig. This sheet of water was about 300 feet long 
and 30 feet broad ; its bottom consisted partly of rough gravel and partly 
of rocks stretching along one of the sides, and its average depth was 
about 5 feet. Five hatching-boxes were then procured, of which one 
was placed in the inclosed water, three at Aakrehavn, and one at 
Kopervig. These boxes were made of cork, and were 5 feet long and 2 
feet deep. Both at the bottom and at the sides, there was an opening 
of one-half inch between the boards, which was covered with strips of 
fine wire-gauze. The boxes at Aakrehavn were, moreover, furnished 
with a light roof, which, without excluding the light, prevented the 
boxes from being filled with fresh water during heavy rains. Only one 
of these three boxes was used for hatching ; the two other ones being 
used for receiving the young ones as their number became too large for 
the hatching-boxes, and for making experiments whether the young 
lobster can be kept outside an inclosed sheet of water, which it might 
be difficult to procure in some places. Twenty-two female lobsters, hav- 
ing roe, were bought, of which three were placed in the inclosed sheet 
of water, and nineteen in the boxes, not all at the same time, however, 
but by degrees, just as it was possible to procure spawning lobsters. 

Professor Easch, president of the section for fisheries in the Eoyal 
Society for Furthering the Industries of Norway, made a report to the 
society on the hatching-experiments, accompanied by prepared speci- 
mens, showing the development of the young lobster on each day of the 
first week after the hatching, and during the fourth week. In this 
report, he says, that, in his opinion, the experiments have been made 
carefully and skillfully, and that thereby several facts regarding the 
natural history of the lobster have been made known, which hitherto 
were either entirely unknown or not sufficiently proved by experiments. 
These facts are — 

a. That the young lobsters swimming near the surface of the water are 
killed by violent rain, which was successfully avoided by having the 
above-mentioned light roofs over the boxes ; 

b. That the older of the young lobsters, when their shears (claws) are 
developed, in their boxes attack and eat the younger ones which stay 
near the surface ; the possibility of doing this was diminished by hav- 


ing holes in the sides of the boxes large enough to let the larger of the 
young ones which stay deeper under the water slip out easily; 

c. That the female lobsters which have roe under the back part of 
their body in June will have done hatching in September ; 

d. That the hatching from beginning to end occupies a period of 
about three weeks ; 

e. That the summer-hatching does not begin at the same time every 
year, (in 1873 it began on the 4th July, and in 1874 between the J7th 
and 20th of the same month,) which undoubtedly depends on the higher 
and lower temperature of the water ; 

/. That the newly-hatched young of the lobster keep closely together 
near the surface of the water, and because but little skilled in swim- 
ming become an easy prey to their enemies ; and, 

g. That the young lobsters begin to go toward the bottom when about 
three to four weeks old, and that there they soon assume their retro- 
grade motion. 

It was also shown that when the young lobsters have so far developed 
as to seek the bottom, they can escape their enemies with comparative 
ease, partly on account of their quicker motions and partly by hiding 
between the stones. 

These experiments have, therefore, not only thrown considerable light 
on the natural history of the lobster, but they have also given practical 
hints how it may be possible to further the lobster-fisheries by adopting 
regulations for their protection, and by establishing in suitable localities 
hatching-places where the young can be protected during the first stages 
of their development. To keep the young lobsters in inclosed sheets of 
water till they are large enough to become salable will scarcely pay. 

One of our largest exporters of lobsters on the western coast has 
tried to keep large quantities of grown lobsters in an inclosed sheet of 
water, feeding them and waiting for the time when it would be most 
profitable to ship them; but it soon became evident that the expenses 
were too great. 

These experiments will be continued during the present year with the 
aid of the Royal Society for Furthering the Industries of Norwuj . 



By Lieut. P. de Broca. 

[The great interest taken by the French in the subject of oyster-cul- 
ture, in view of the threatened failure of this branch of industry on the 
shores of France, induced the government to send Lieutenant de Broca 
to the United States, in 1862, for the purpose of ascertaining its condi- 
tion in this country. The report of that gentleman was first published 
in the Revue Maritime et Coloniale, and afterward reprinted in separate 
form, with some additions, under the title given below.* 

As nothing so elaborate in reference to the oyster-culture and -indus- 
try in the United States has been published elsewhere, I have caused 
M. de Broca's report in the Revue to be translated, and present it here- 
with, supplemented by some additions from the Stude. I hope to pre- 
sent before long the present condition of the oyster-fisheries of the 
country from an American point of view. — S. F. Baird.] 


To His Excellency the Minister of Marine and Colonial Affairs : 

Honored Sir : At the end of the month of March, 1862, your excel- 
lency, at the request of M. Ooste, Member of the Institute, instructed me 
to proceed to the United States, in order to study the Oyster-Fisheries of 
that country, and to bring back specimens of two kinds of edible mol- 
lusks, susceptible of acclimation on the shores of France. 

Since my return to Havre, on the 2d of October, I have hastened to 
forward to your excellency a summary report of my mission, to be fol- 
lowed by a more detailed account, containing all my investigations in 
regard to the American coasts. 

Leaving Boston on the 17th of September, in the steamer Asia, of the 
Cunard line, I reached Liverpool on the 29th, after a passage of twelve 
days of most delightful weather. I brought with me a number of mol- 
lusks, principally of the Mya arenaria, of which, notwithstanding the 
greatest care, I was able to save only a few specimens. I was more for- 

* Questions ruaritimes et coloniales. — Peches maritimes. — Etude sur l'industrie hui- 
triere des Etats-Unis, faite par ordre de S. E. M. le comte de Chasselonp Laubat, mi- 
nistre de la marine et des colonies. Suivie de divers apercus sur l'industrie de la glace 
en Ame'rique, les bateaux de p6cbe pourvus de glacieres, les rdserves flottantes a poisson, 
la peche du maquereau, etc. Par M. P. de Broca, lieutenant de vaisseau, directeur des 
mouvements du port du Havre. — Nouvelle Edition, augmented de divers documents et 
de notes.— Paris. Challamel alne", dditeur, 18G5, 12 mo., 2 p. 1., 266 pp. 


tunate with the Venus mercenaria, and the oysters of Virginia, and suc- 
ceeded in landing two thousand living representatives at Havre, from 
which place they were sent immediately to the Hougue of Saint- Waast. 

Your excellency will permit me, before entering into details concern- 
ing my commission, to mention the circumstances which preceded it, as 
the experience resulting from them is worthy of record. 

About the end of the year 1860 one of my cousins, M. de Fe'russac, 
spoke to me of the alimentary supplies afforded the people of the United 
States from two species of marine mollusks, known in the country under 
the names of the soft clam and the round clam. The information thus 
given me having been confirmed by several American captains fre- 
quenting the port of Havre, I hastened to communicate with M. Coste, 
proposing, if he considered it advisable, to import some specimens of 
the mollusks in question, by means of the transatlantic steamers, from 
New York. This proposition was immediately accepted; funds were 
placed at my disposal by the College of France ; and in the month of 
May, 1861, the reliable officer in charge of the Arago, who cheerfully 
took the matter in charge, brought to Havre a number of round clams 
( Venus mercenaria,) as well as oysters from Virginia, of a species entirely 
different from those found on our shores. 

Some time after this, the Emperor, whose attention is constantly 
directed to everything that tends to increase our alimentary resources, 
took himself the initiative in the general acclimation of American edible 
mollusks. To facilitate this design of the Emperor, M. de Montholon, 
consul-general of France at New York, was invited to confer with the 
celebrated Professor Agassiz, of the University of Cambridge, near Bos- 
ton, in the United States. 

M. Coste, Member of the Institute, was instructed by His Majesty to 
take all necessary measures for the success of the enterprise in France 

Mr. Burkardt, draughtsman of the Museum of Natural History at. 
Cambridge, left Boston in the month of September, of the same year, 
with some of each of the following species, collected through the kind- 
ness of Professor Agassiz: (1.) Mya arenaria ; (2.) Venus mercenaria ; 
(3.) Pecten concentricus ; (4.) Homarus americanus ; (5.) Mactra solidissima ; 
(6.) Mytilus edulis* The voyage to Europe was accomplished under 
such unfavorable circumstances that a large portion of these perished 
during the passage ; and as the vessel did not arrive at Liverpool until 
after the departure of the steamer for Havre, Mr. Burkardt was obliged 
to convey the shell-fish, which were still alive, entirely across England, 
in order to embark at Southampton. Of all the mollusks brought from 
Boston only two hundred of the Venus survived to reach France ; and 
these were immediately placed in the parks of Saint- Waast, in accord- 
ance with the instructions of M. Coste. 

Such, your excellency, were the first attempts at acclimation; and if 

*(1.) Soft clam ; (2.) Round or quahaug clam ; (3.) Scallop; (4.) Lobster; (5.) Hen 
clam; (6.) Mussel. 


I mention them here, it is not to detract in the least from what was then 
accomplished. My sole purpose is to show that the probabilities in 
favor of the successful acclimation of oysters and clams are very great, 
since they have lived for seventeen months in the waters of the Mauche 
quite as thriftily as if they were on their native beds. 

By the close of the year 1861 these two important facts were satisfac- 
torily established : first, that the mollusks in question can easily bear 
transportation across the Atlantic j and, secondly, that our salt waters 
do not appear to affect them unfavorably. The number of specimens 
was not sufficient to warrant the planting of them in bays ; beside, all 
the species with which it was desirable to experiment had not survived 
to reach Europe. These two reasons induced M. Coste to request your 
excellency to send me to the United States, not only to bring back a 
large number of mollusks, but also to examine into the conditions essen- 
tial to their healthy growth ; to investigate the nature of the soil and 
the character of the waters in which they live ; aud, in short, to obtain 
information upon every point which might insure the success of the 
enterprise. I was also ordered to examine everything connected with 
the oyster-industry 5 and, in compliance with these instructions, I sailed: 
from Liverpool, on the 29th of March, for New York, by the steamer 

Owing to circumstances beyond my control, my departure, which 
ought to have taken place in February, had been delayed ; so that on 
my arrival in America I was obliged (as my commission embraced but 
two months) to arrange matters so as to return to Europe by the middle 
of June, a season of the year when transportation is difficult on account 
of the excessive heat. As I was in possession of very uncertain infor- 
mation with regard to the best manner of treating the mollusks, I thought 
it the wisest plan, in order to take them safely across the Atlantic, to 
ask the advice of competent persons in the country ; and it may be well 
to say that every one to whom I mentioned the subject predicted a fail- 
ure if I made the attempt during warm weather. 

In view of an opinion so decidedly expressed, and after consultation 
with the consul-general of France, I concluded to dispatch immediately 
a number of the mollusks, by the steamer Asia, whose captain, a very 
intelligent gentleman, had offered me his co-operation. 

On the 23d of April, I put on board the steamer 3,000 of the Venus 
mercenarici) and 600 of Virginia oysters, gathered from beds in New 
York Bay. Some time after this 1 sent 2,000 of the Venus by the Persia, 
the fleetest vessel of the Ounard line. Your excellency will permit me 
to observe in this connection, that the discontinuance of the transat- 
lantic Havre line of steamers, the vessels of which were required by the 
Federal Government for the exigencies of the war then in progress, 
disarranged my plans, and forced me to send my collections by way of 
England ; so that the probabilities of failure in the transportation of 

the shell fish were greatly increased. 
18 F 


After remaining two weeks in New York, during which time I com- 
menced my investigations in regard to the shell-fisheries, I went to 
Boston, in order to avail myself of the counsel and experience of Profes* 
sor Agassiz, to whom M. Coste had given me a letter of introduction. 

With the utmost readiness and kindness, (for which I tender him my 
thanks,) the professor made me acquainted with the best means of pro- 
moting the success of my undertaking. He pointed out to me those por- 
tions of the coast of the Korthern States which I ought especially to 
study, and generously placed himself at my service to direct me in the 
most fruitful path of investigation. Nevertheless, when he learned that 
my stay in America could not exceed a month, he did not hesitate to 
express his opinion of the great difficulty attendant upon so limited a 
period. In his judgment the investigations I had undertaken in regard 
to the oyster fisheries alone would require much more time than had 
been accorded to me ; for, in the United States, where there is no fiscal 
import duty upon fish, as in France, it is difficult to ascertain the statis- 
tics of amounts consumed ; and since each State is regulated by its own 
laws, it is only by personal observation that exact kuowledge could be 

The transportation of a large number of the mollusks in the month 
of June, seemed to Professor Agassiz extremely hazardous, and he also 
informed me that in consequence of the interest he felt in the success of 
an enterprise which had been initiated by His Majesty himself, he 
dreaded nothing so much as a failure, which without really proving 
anything against the undertaking, might yet lead to its relinquishment. 

It is evident that I could not but be impressed by such important 
considerations, and deeming it to be my duty not to act without positive 
orders from your excellency, I requested Professor Agassiz to write to 
M. Coste, and explain the reasons why my departure from the United 
States should be deferred. 

On the 27th of April I received from Cambridge the following com- 
munication : 

"I have just forwarded to M. Coste a long letter, written in accord- 
ance with the opinion I expressed to you in regard to the necessity of 
prolonging your stay in the United States, in order to accomplish the 
object of your commission. .1 consider it indispensable that you should 
pass the warm season here, if you would become acquainted with all that 
concerns the fishery and the preservation of our oysters, and that you 
wait until autumn to transport with any chance of success the mollusks 
which are to be acclimated on the shores of France, &c. 


While awaiting a reply from your excellency, I began at Boston some 
experiments with reference to the best mode of treating the mollusks 
during their passage across the Atlantic. I bought for this purpose a 
number of Virginia clams and oysters, which were placed in tubs or 


vats upon a bed of gravel, and supplied every morning and evening 
with pure water from the sea, taken at some distance from the harbor ; 
these vats being emptied after the water had remained about an hour 
upon the shell-fish. These experiments gave the following results: 
Shortly after the Myas had been placed in the vats, they evidently began 
to decline, and on the twelfth day there was not one alive. So far the 
failure was almost complete. The Venus and the oysters, on the con- 
trary, thrived so well, under this mode of treatment, that at the end of 
a month they were in as good condition as on the first day, the mortality 
amoug them having been insignificant and attributable to several ex- 
traneous causes. During my absence Mr. Higgens, a planter and 
dealer in oysters, cheerfully consented to continue these experiments, 
and to keep me constantly informed of their results. 

Success with the oysters and the Venus inspired me with such confi- 
dence that, on the 28th of May, I sent ten baskets of them by the 
steamer Europa, which sailed from Boston. 

Having been informed early in June, through a dispatch from the 
admiral of the Eonciere, that your excellency had extended the time of 
my commission, I made arrangements for continuing the transportation. 

On the 10th of June the captain of the vessel from Selva, in com- 
mand of the frigate la Bellone, consented to take to France some oys- 
ters and some of the Venus, as well as about forty fresh- water turtles, 
which I sent to M. Coste as specimens of the American species. Having 
been convinced by some new experiments, undertaken on the shore 
of Long Island, that it was possible to keep Myas alive out of their 
native element for twenty days, even in the warm season, I sent, on 
the 18th of July, 800 of these mollusks by the Europa, with six baskets 
of oysters, gathered in Delaware Bay. The Myas, buried in cases, filled 
with sand, as in their natural beds, were supplied several times a day 
during the passage with salt-water, and I have since learned that 400 
of them reached Saint Waast alive. 

On the 29th of July the Persia carried over 2,000 of the Venus ; and 
on the 10th of August I put on board the Australia thirty fresh- water 
turtles j while, on the 3d and 10th of September, I dispatched by the 
English steamers several thousand mollusks. I have learned, since my 
return to Havre, that these various transportations were not equally suc- 
cessful. Of thirty thousand shell-fish sent from America, including 
those I brought with me, and others constantly arriving, we can only 
count upon about a third. It is greatly to be regretted that so large a 
number failed to survive the perils of the passage ; but it is not surpris- 
ing when we remember that I was obliged to confide them to the care 
of persons having at the most only a moderate interest in their preser- 
vation. I sent on board the vessels with each lot written instructions 
as to their management j but I have every reason to believe that these 
were not carefully observed by the subordinate agents intrusted with 
their execution. As I have mentioned before to your excellency, nothing 


could have been more unfortunate for the success of my commission than 
the suppression of the American Hue of steamers from Havre, since the 
sending of the mollusks by the English vessels necessitated their reship- 
ment at Liverpool, thus causing them to pass through a number of 
hands, increasing the length of the passage and greatly multiplying the 
causes of mortality. 

The directors of the Cunard line at New York and Boston gave me, 
however, their ready co-operation ; and as soon as they learned that the 
mollusks were sent for purposes of public utility they declined receiving 
any remuneration for their transportation. 

Yet, notwithstanding these unfavorable circumstances, we have now, 
at Saint Waast,a sufficient number for the proposed attempt at acclima- 
tion 5 and, as a result of the arrangement which I have been enabled to 
make, both in New York and Liverpool, with the directors of the Cunard 
company, nothing is easier than to bring over new specimens during the 
winter should it be deemed necessary. 

During my sojourn in the United States T visited all those portions of 
the northern coast where the oyster fisheries are in the most flourishing 
condition. It is true that in consequence of the war I was unable to in- 
vestigate the oyster-beds and plantations of Chesapeake Bay j but as 
the mode of culture in all important points is the same throughout the 
country, I should probably not have obtained any additional information. 

In the course of my investigations I found myself in constant contact 
with men engaged in various coast fisheries, and I availed myself of the 
opportunity offered to collect facts which might be of value to similar 
establishments in France. At New London, where I went to examine 
the clam beds, I obtained the plans of several fishing vessels, constructed 
by Mr. Beck with, who is one of the best builders of this kind of boats. 
I also brought away with me plans of a cutter furnished with a well, 
of a schooner provided with an ice-house, and of another schooner hav- 
ing both these appendages. 

During my official sojourn in America I forwarded, from time to time, 
to M. Coste, in accordance with the directions of your excellency, re- 
ports upon various subjects, such as the ice-trade in the United States, 
and its employment as a means of preserving fish ; the establishment 
of wells and ice-houses on board fishing vessels ; the floating preserves 
for fish introduced into the harbors ; the lobster fishery at Boston 5 the 
mackerel fisheries ; and the halibut fisheries ; which it would be greatly 
to the interest of our Newfoundland fishermen to combine with that of 
the codfish. 

These reports, rendered more complete by subsequent observation, I 
shall have the honor to submit to your excellency. 

In the course of my investigations I endeavored to take only a prac- 
tical view of things, and to free my judgment as much as possible from 
national prejudices. If a process appeared to me new, I examined it 
with attention, and was careful not to condemn it merely because it 


was not in use in France. On the other hand, I guarded myself against 
a too ready acceptance of statements which at first sight were plausi- 
ble, and never accepted them without confirmation. In the United 
States, more perhaps than anywhere else, statements should be ac- 
cepted with allowance ; for, notwithstanding the coldness, seriousness, 
and reserve of the people, they are singularly prone to exaggeration 
in everything that relates to the commerce, manufactures, or greatness 
of their country. This extreme self-esteem, which is to some extent 
meritorious, is one of their most prominent characteristics. During my 
investigations concerning the oyster-fisheries, I frequently received the 
most conflicting and sometimes erroneous statements. 

Notwithstanding the most presistent efforts, I failed to find in the 
book-stores or libraries either in Boston, New York, or Philadelphia a 
single treatise upon shell-fisheries. I could only obtain a few incom- 
plete statistical documents and newspaper articles, and these discussed 
the subject only in its commercial aspects. 

As to the raising of the mollusks and their planting, my only mode 
of obtaining information was to visit the establishments, and talk with 
the fishermen ; and I ought not to omit to commend these sea-faring 
people, for, their reserve once thrown aside, I found them uniformly 
obliging, and ready to furnish me with the information I required. 

In closing, your excellency, I would express my acknowledgments 
for the kind aid extended to me by the French consuls at New York 
and Boston, and also my sense of the great favor conferred upon me, 
being intrusted with a commission which brought me into such close re- 
lations with those eminent scientists, M. Coste and Professor Agassiz ; 
a great privilege to any one desirous of instruction. 

I have the honor to be, with the greatest respect, your obedient servant, 


Lieutenant of the Imperial Marine and Director of the Port of Havre. 

Havre, October 12, 1862. 



The aphorism of Brillat Savarin, " The discovery of a new dish does 
more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a new 
star," has never proved itself more true than in our time, when the con- 
tinual increase of population adds each day to the importance of the ques- 
tion of public alimentation. France, upon a comparatively limited ter- 
ritory, nows numbers over forty millions of inhabitants j and, notwith. 
standing the fertility of her soil, the perfection of her agriculture, and 
the number of her flocks and herds, it cannot be denied that the rate 
of her production is beginning to be less than that of her consumption 


In seasons when the cereal harvests have fallen below the average, we 
have been obliged to resort to foreign nations to supply the deficit; 
and if the people have not recently suffered serious privation, it is be- 
cause the provident solicitude of the government has taken in time the 
necessary measures to prevent such a calamity. It would be fatal to 
rest quietly in a state of false security, and far better to recognize the 
existence of a permanent danger to which a remedy may be applied 
than to be unprepared for some casualty (a war for instance) which 
might be of such a nature as at any time to prevent the importation of 
the necessaries which we require. 

To insure food to the people by applying the discoveries of science to 
the pursuits of agriculture, to encourage labor, repeople the impover- 
ished streams, and make the most of the sea-coast ; in a word, to create 
more abundant and cheaper resources of nourishment are motives which 
ought to enlist the most intense co-operation of all who have at heart 
the prosperity of the country. 

Among the means which we have in our power for this desirable end, 
one of the most effective is to acclimate in France the vegetables and 
animals of other countries. How many instances of the acclimation of 
vegetables might be mentioned ; and, if we would speak of any one in 
particular, there is that modest plant, the potato.* Imported from 
America in the sixteenth century, it produced such a revolution in pub- 
lic economy that entire populations now depend upon it for subsistence. 
Maize is another example of the same kind. 

The acclimation of animals also has added greatly to the national 
wealth. The Arabian horse, and the merino sheep from Spain, have 
renewed our degenerate races. The turkey from America, the guinea-fowl 
from Africa, the cock from China and India, the duck from Barbary, 
as well as various kinds of pigeons, &c, are found on our farms in great 
numbers, and by crossing them with indigenous species most savory 
and important edible products have been furnished. 

For several years the Imperial Society of Acclimation has made the 
most laudable efforts to secure for France new resources of food and 
trade, while similar societies in the departments have concurred in this 
eminently patriotic undertaking. Through their efforts the hemionns 3 or 
wild ass, has been completely domesticated, and is about to become an 
important element in the horse trade, of which it will form a most grace- 
ful ornament. The Angora sheep is now reared in several parts of 
France without perceptible degeneration ; while the young ostriches, 
born and raised in the zoological gardens of Algiers and Marseilles, 
give us ground to hope that the time is not far distant when the 
flesh of these birds will rank among the choicest viands of the market. 

* The potato was imported into Ireland in 1545, by Captain John Hawkins. It 
was cultivated in Lancashire in 1084 ; in Saxe in 1717 ; in Scotland in 1728 ; and ten 
years later it spread over Prussia. In France it was cultivated in several provinces dur- 
ing the reign of Louis XV ; but it was Parinentier, who, at the close of the last century* 
was the most active in its propagation in our country. Louillet, (Encycloptdie Moderne.) 


Many similar experiments are in course of trial with every probability 
of success. 

How happens it that, among all these efforts, so few have had for their 
objects the fish, the crustaceans and the mollusks % With the exception 
of the carp and the gold-fish from China, which may be considered 
merely objects of luxury, and of no great utility, there have been very 
few cases of acclimation, since the introduction of living fish into our 
water-courses from localities at no great distance cannot be properly 
considered such.* The attempt with the gourami of China, the most 
delicious of fresh-water fish, has hitherto been without result, but it is 
gratifying to record that it has become an article of commerce with 
Europe, and that a great many specimens are now found in the island of 
Mauritius. As to the edible mollusks, the very first effort at acclimation 
is probably that now undertaken with the oysters of Virginia and the 
Venus mercenaria. 

Before the use of steamboats and railroa.ds, those two great levers 
of modern activity, the transportation of foreign marine or fresh- water 
productions was attended with great difficulties. The slow progress of 
navigation by sail constituted a very unfavorable condition, to which 
should be added a want of knowledge of the proper management of the 
animals. With perseverance, however, such transportation was not im- 
possible, as is proved by the importation of the gourami into the island 
of Mauritius, and by similar instances recorded in history. f 

M. Milbert, a traveler employed by the Museum of Natural History, 
succeeded, in 1824, in bringing to Havre some fish from the United 
States. Unfortunately they all perished on their arrival, through the 
carelessness of the captain of the vessel, who left them upon the deck 
during a heavy winter frost. Milbert was inconsolable in consequence 
of the failure. We have another instance, in the case of an American 
merchant, who, about twenty-five years ago, emptied into the roadstead of 
Boston a cargo of sea-bass, taken in the bay of New York, and con- 
veyed to their destination in a boat- well ; from that time these fish, be- 
fore unknown in the latitude of Boston, have multiplied to such an 
extent that the fishermen capture them daily. If, at the time when sail- 
ing-vessels were the only means of transportation, there were very few 

* The carp was introduced in England in 1514, by Marshall ; and into Denmark in 
1550, by Pierre Oxe. In our time, M. Coste has naturalized the grayliug in our 
waters. At the commencement of the century, P<5ron and Lesueur attempted in vain 
to import the gourami into Frauce, and a few years later Captain Philbert followed 
their example with no better success. He, however, kept one fish alive until within 
sight of the shores of France. 

t In ancient times, the Romans, not content with having naturalized, in several of 
the lakes of Italy, different kinds of iish, such as the rulsinum and the cimiuus ordinarily 
found at the mouths of rivers, introduced into the Tuscan Sea the Scarus onias of the 
seas of Syria. This remarkable undertaking was accomplished under the reign of 
Claudius, by one of his freedmen, Elipertins Optatus, who commanded the Roman 
fleet. The scaria were imported in boat-wells, and for several years were carefully 
thrown back into the sea when caught in the nets of the fishermen. 


attempts made for the acclimation of fish and mollusks, there was in 
fact no urgent necessity for it. Before the water-courses of France 
were monoplized by commerce, they were filled with fish, and it is not 
a great while since, in certain localities of Great Britain, servants, as 
well as the Scotch peasants, were not content if they were obliged to 
eat salmon more than three times a week. 

The' increase of crops, through a better knowledge of agriculture, the 
raising and improvement of various breeds of cattle, &c, naturally 
occupied the public mind, as a means of increasing alimentary resources, 
much more than enterprises which at best were considered very pre- 
carious. In our day it is very different. The rivers and streams, through 
a deplorable mismanagement, yield only insignificant products. The 
beds of oysters and edible mollusks are becoming day by day less 
productive, and it is absolutely necessary to have recourse to the fruit- 
ful sciences of pisciculture and ostriculture to retrieve our losses. 

On the other hand, at nq period have circumstances been more favor- 
able for the ultimate success of the projects for acclimation. The trans- 
atlantic and other steamers have opened communication with the most 
distant countries, while the completeness of their construction and their 
rapidity of passage are about as perfect as we may ever expect to secure.* 

Our means of transportation are now of the first order, without taking 
into account the vessels of the imperial navy, which would assist in this 
work of public utility, and might, in certain cases, be intrusted with 
particular installments, incompatible with the service of commercial 

It ought not to be forgotten that fish and mollusks possess great ad- 
vantages over other animals, in the rapidity with which they multiply 
when they are acclimated, and in the less expense of their introduction. 
Of all the animals subservient to the use of man, they alone live in an 
element in which they can provide nourishment for themselves. They 
therefore make no demands upon our resources, which is not the case 
with other kinds of game. With foreign quadrupeds years must elapse 
before they can increase greatly in number, without taking into account 
the diseases which may attack them. How many disappointments has 
the Society for Acclimation experienced in their attempts with the llama 
and alpaca! Birds are somewhat more satisfactory, but their repro- 
duction is also very slow; while fish and mollusks, as soon as they become 
accustomed to the character of our waters, will increase in a few years 
to millions. The astonishing reproductive power of the oyster and the 
mussel is well known. Naturalists have numbered the eggs of the pike 
by the hundred thousand ; of the carp and the mackerel by the half 
million ; of the plaice by six millions, which satisfactorily accounts for 

*To speak only of France: Marseilles, besides a line from the Mediterranean, has 
recently established one from the extreme east. Bordeaux has one from Brazil and 
La Plata; Saint Nazaire one from the Antilles and the Gulf of Mexico; and certainly 
before the middle of next year Havre will inaugurate a line from the United States. 


the prodigious increase of this fish in the ponds of eastern Friesland, 
where it was introduced by the Dutch at the beginning of this cen- 
tury. In the thick-lipped mullet, Professor Valenciennes has counted 
not less than thirteen millions of eggs. These examples show how 
rapidly they multiply, and how important it is to acclimate species with 
such remarkable powers of reproduction. 

The experiment with the gourami will, undoubtedly, soon be tried 
again, by means of the steamers from Indo-Ohina and those of the line 
from Alexandria. 

During my sojourn in the United States, although my commission 
related particularly to the acclimation of mollusks, I extended my 
researches to other species useful for food. Among others, I would 
mention the terrapin-turtle, found at the mouths of rivers and in salt 
marshes, and which is a very delicious article of food; the lobster, 
larger, but less agreeable to the taste, than ours ; and several exclu- 
sively fresh-water tortoises, of which the red-belly is the most esteemed. 
The learned director of the museum of Cambridge, Mass., has engaged 
to send to France, next spring, a sufficient number of specimens of the 
latter species to make an attempt at acclimation in the ponds in the 
suburbs of Paris. 

Among fresh-water fish, the large salmon-trout (Salmo amethystus) 
and the white fish (Coregonus albus) would be great additions to 
French ichthyology, if they could be transported to Europe. Professor 
Agassiz,* whose opinion is authority in such matters, considers artificial 
fecundation a certain means of success, as he himself informed the 
Emperor, and which I had the honor to explain to His Majesty in an 
interview accorded me at St. Cloud. 

Whatever may be the future of these projects, mentioned only to show 
how many valuable resources we may render available, I must now leave 
them and turn my attention to the acclimation of the mollusks, the 
object of my visit to America. 

The shores of our two seas are singularly deficient in specimens of 
edible mollusks, there being only a few scallops on the coast of Great 
Britain ; some species of Venus, not at all abundant, in the bays of the 
ocean and the Mediterranean ; a few cardiums, &c. Such is the extent 
of our resources. America, on the contrary, whose Atlantic coast is 
rich in shell- fish, is probably the most favored country in the world for 
this kind of production.! The oysters, of which there are three species, 

*The distinguished professor is of the opinion that the French government ought to 
undertake the acclimation of the nandou, which is much more susceptible of naturali- 
zation in France than tho ostrich of Sahara, for the single reason that it is a native of 
a temperate climate. 

In 1860 I pointed out the pearl mussel as capable of introduction upon the coast of 
Algeria, and I even opened a correspondence upon the subject with a Greek merchant 
of Alexandria, who was engaged in the pearl fisheries of tho Eed Sea. 

Recently Mr. Lamiral has published in tho Bulletin de la Soci6l6 Impe'riale d'Acclimata- 
tion a very interesting article upon this subject. 

tAs regards the fish commerce, the American coast presents a conformation entirely 


form immense banks along the shores, and the fisheries furnish every 
year, for the public consumption, a mass of alimentary matter of which 
it is impossible to form any idea in Europe. There are, besides, in the 
bays, inlets, straits, &c, numerous beds of mollusks, known under the gen- 
eral name of clams, of which the most important are the soft clam and 
the round clam, the Mya arenaria and Venus mercenaria of naturalists. 

The oysters, the Venus mercenaria, and the Myas, to speak only of 
these species, enter so largely into the public means of sustenance that 
a failure of these products would be a material calamity. 

In the city of New York, the most populous center of the United 
States, the commerce in oysters is estimated at 35,000,000 francs, or 
$5,000,000 5 and the trade of the whole country is valued at 100,000,000 
francs, ($50,000,000,) although these high figures do not represent the 
total amount of products, since along the coast and the rivers there is a 
daily consumption which cannot be estimated. - 

The Merchants' Magazine and Commercial Review, for 1859, esti- 
mated the trade in oysters of the principal cities as follows : 


Virginia, (State) -. 1, 050, 000 

Baltimore 3, 500, 000 

Philadelphia 2, 500, 000 

New York 6, 950, 000 

Fair Haven 2, 000, 000 

Other cities, such as Boston and Providence 4, 000, 000 

Total 20,000,000 

Calculating two hundred oysters only as a bushel we have the enor- 
mous amount of 4,000,000,000 mollusks consumed. 

Mr. Meigs asserted, in the American Institute for the same year, that 
in the city of New York more money is expended for oysters than for 
meat. This delicious article of food has become so necessary with every 
class of the population that scarcely a town in the whole country can 
be found without its regular supply. By means of railroads and water- 
channels, oysters in the shell, or out of the shell, preserved in ice, in 
pickle, or canned, are carried even to the remotest parts of the United 
States. The cities of Fair Haven, Boston, and Baltimore are at the 
head of the interior trade, which, for six months in the year, gives 
employment to a large number of persons. 

unique. From Cape Fear to the extremity of Long Island sandy beaches are almost 
universally interposed between tiie ocean and the main land, which run parallel with 
+ ,he shore at a distance of from one to several miles. These sometimes form islands, 
varying in width from several yards to a half mile, and of great length. These sandy 
formations make bays, sounds, lagunes, &c, in the most favorble condition for the 
multiplication of fish and mollusks. Besides, as the openings communicating with the 
sea are not very numerous, in places where rivers and streams empty, the water is 
less salt than in the open sea, which still further increases the chances for the pro- 
duction of certain kinds of fish and mollusks, particularly oysters. 


The soft clam, similar in every respect to the Mya of the sands which 
inhabits the seas of the north of Europe, and especially of Scotland, 
multiplies so rapidly on the coast of New England, that, although they 
are in constant demand, they do not seem to decrease in number. Al- 
though found in abundance in the State of New York, their real home 
is farther north, where they are found even as far as the shores of New- 
foundland; but they are nowhere so numerous as on the coasts of the 
counties of Essex and Barnstable, in Massachusetts. Doctor Gould, in 
his Natural History of Invertebrata, published in 1841, estimated the 
quantity of soft clams consumed in Massachusetts at more than ten 
thousand bushels; but this amount, based probably upon the sales by 
professed fishermen alone, gives no idea of the real rate of consumption, 
since the laws accord to each citizen of the State the right to catch as 
many of the mollusks as he may need for his family. Not even an 
proximate calculation is possible. It is very certain that Boston con- 
sumes enormous quantities of soft clams in the excellent soups which 
the Americans so well appreciate. The Myas also form one of the best 
baits for the codfish, and every year Massachusetts salts down thousands 
of barrels for the use of the fisheries on the banks of Newfoundland. 
Freshly caught, they are sold on the wharves of Boston for 75 cents a 

The round clam of large size is similar in taste to the Venus verru- 
cosa, and, like it, is found in sheltered and shallow bays, where it buries 
itself in the miry sand. As prolific as the Mya, it abounds upon that por- 
tion of the coast of the United States lying south of Cape Cod, which 
appears to be its most northern limit. It is met with, however, in the 
vicinity of Cape Ann, but in that locality is not an article of commerce. 

The most important fisheries that I visited are those of the suburbs of 
New York, of the great bay south of Long Island, of the bay of New 
Haven, and of Cape Cod. A large quantity of round clams is consumed 
in New York and Philadelphia during the summer months, taking, at 
that season, the place of oysters, which are then considered by some as 
not fit for food. They are excellent, either cooked or raw. 

Oysters from Virginia, Venus mercenaria, and Mya arenaria, are the 
three species of bivalves which we are now endeavoring to acclimate 
upon our shores, with the probability of complete success, at least with 
the first two. It will probably be necessary to replace the third (of which 
I imported only a few specimens) by a species inhabiting Scotland. It 
will be quite easy to bring thence a sufficient number. 

When I hadp ersonally investigated the resources afforded the people 
of the United States by the mollusks in question, I came to the conclu- 
sion that the oyster ought to claim the especial attention of the imperial 
marine; not that I do not attach an equal importance to the acclimation of 
the Mya, and the Venus mercenaria, but since these two species develop 
slowly, as 1 have learned from an examination of specimens at different 
ages, that several years must elapse before they would be sufficiently 
numerous to be used for food. The oyster, on the contrary, as prolific as 


our own, develops so rapidly that according to reliable information 
which I have received, one of these inollusks planted in April, and about 
three inches in length, will increase by more than half that size before 
the end of the following autumn. 

I have myself seen oysters planted in the bay of New Haven increase 
over a half inch in two months. In the course of my investigations, I 
have eaten oysters from the most celebrated localities, and must say 
that I have always found them somewhat insipid in taste, a marked 
characteristic of the species. In Massachusetts, I found them much 
saltier, which is due both to the peculiar nature of the water, and the 
soil in which they are cultivated.* 

When eaten raw, they will never probably be as highly esteemed by 
the epicure as the indigenous species j but, on the other hand, they will 
be preferred when the mariner wishes to put them in store, or when 
they are to be used for culinary purposes, which deprives them of none 
of their nutritive properties. It would be impossible to find anything 
more acceptable to the palate than certain preparations of oysters fur- 
nished by the good restaurants of New York, such as Delmonico's. 

In my opinion the acclimation of this species, susceptible of rapid 
growth and richer in nutritive substance than ours, will, in one respect, 
complete the oyster trade of France, bringing into it elements of true 
alimentary support, while up to this time its contributions have been 
considered merely as articles of luxury. But it will be necessary to 
bring the price of the oyster within the limits of every purse, as is the 
case in the United States, where it is considered one of the most com- 
mon and cheap means of subsistence. In the public establishments of 
New York a most excellent soup, made of these mollusca, can be ob- 
tained for six cents. 

It is only necessary to have assisted, as I have done in the course of my 
investigations in the daily sale of several thousand oysters by the same 
merchant, to have witnessed the opening of eight hundred bushels a 
day in the establishments of Boston and Fair Haven, for the purpose of 
sending the flesh, packed in ice, into the interior of the country ; it is 
only necessary, I say, to have taken part in such scenes to become pro- 
foundly convinced that the raising of shell-fish so prolific must become 
in France, as in the United States, a most important element for the 
support of life.t 

I should, therefore, consider it a national blessing if we can obtain 
their reproduction in France, a consummation which we have every rea- 
son to hope will take place next spring, since the oysters deposited by 
M. Coste in the basin of Arcachon have developed as rapidly as in the 
best American plantations. As soon as reproduction allows them to be 

* The oyster merchants divide these inollusks into " fresh " and " salt" oysters. The 
latter come from submarine soil, where the sea is not mixed with fresh water. 

t The American oysters have the advantage of being able to endure the regimen 
of the parks ; and although some localities suit them better than others, on account of 
the richness of the soil, they prosper on almost all parts of the coast. Long experi- 


brought into the market, I have not a doubt that their excellent quali- 
ties will readily secure consumers.* 

From whatever point of view we regard the shell-fisheries of the 
United States, they present remarkable results. The food provided for 
the people ; the resources furnished agriculture by use of the shells ; 
the influence upon coast navigation, which is so greatly developed by 
them $ the work provided for the poorer classes, &c, all claim the earn- 
est attention of political economists. Oysters and clams have now be- 
come necessities of the first importance in North America, and show how 
much the productions of the sea may add to the riches of a country, 
whatever may be the means employed to obtain them in abundance. 

Apart from the interesting question of acclimation, the exposition of 
this industry is of service, in showing us the necessity of pursuing the 
fruitful field opened by the perseverance of M. Coste. The marvelous 
results obtained in a few years, on those parts of the coast where he has 
experimented, no longer admit of a doubt as to the value of his ingen- 
ious method of ostriculture. It will certainly be necessary to make a 
more complete study of our shores in order to prevent mistakes, or 
rather badly conceived enterprises $ but this work once accomplished, 
tbere are few industries of France which offer as many probabilities of 

I have often heard it stated as a reproach to ostriculture, that it had not 
produced in the bay of St. Brieuc all the results expected j that although 
the fascines immersed were covered with embryos during the breeding- 
season, they had not prospered and formed new banks. Having never 
been in circumstances to verify the truth of this assertion, I cannot say 
how well it may be founded ; but, admitting it to be true, I cannot see 
how it militates against ostriculture. It proves, at most, the utility of 
transplanting the young generations attached to the collecting appara- 
tus, thus putting in practice means employed with many products of the 
soil. To expect of a science, which dates but avery few years back, 
the unfailing success which belongs only to long experience, seems to 
me to be very unreasonable. 

Pisciculture, hirudiculture, ostriculture — in a word, all the industries 
which relate to the domain and constitute the agriculture of the sea — 
must necessarily pass through all the stages from infancy to maturity j 
but in order that they may rapidly bring forth fruit, thoughtless pre- 
judgment should not interfere with their progress. 

The most prejudiced persons with whom I have conversed upon the 
subject of ostriculture, admit that the embryos can be obtained in un- 

enco has shown that those from tho Chesapeake may be transplanted to all the North- 
ern States without deteriorating in quality : and it is remarkable how much they will 
improve under certain hydrographic conditions. The salt-oysters of Massachusetts, 
so highly esteemed in New York, originally come from Virginia and remain several 
months in Boston Bay or that of Wellfleet, (Cape Cod.) 

* By a remarkable coincidence, the oyster from Virginia, which we are endeavor- 
ing to naturalize in the basin of Arcachon, is found in the fossil state in the neighbor- 
hood of Bordeaux. 


limited numbers; but there, they think, all useful results end. Yet 
experience in the United States, where the secret of the culture consists 
in raising upon nutritive soil the mollusks removed from the places of 
production, evidently shows the fallacy of this opinion. 

As the example of the American planters proves, nothing is easier 
than to remove the young oysters attached to the collecting apparatus, 
aud to plant them in hurdles or narrow stalls very well sheltered, the 
bottom of which is firm enough to prevent their being smothered by the 
mud. This can be done at no great expense, and with no complicated 
manipulation; and, in a few months, the mollusks will be strong enough 
to defend themselves from ordinary causes of mortality. 

It is an unfortunate error, prevalent among mariners, which supposes 
that what appertains to the productions of the sea should not be modified 
by the hand of man, and they consider it, to say the least, useless to at- 
tempt to obtain these productions by artificial means. Such an idea, which 
is equivalent to the negation of science, is as absurd as the fatalism 
of the Orientals, who leave to Providence the care of all things, and so 
excuse their own idleness and carelessness. We do not hesitate to say, 
that it shows great want of a just appreciation of the mission of human- 
ity thus to limit its intelligence and powers of investigation. 

The exploration of the domain of the sea gains in public opinion every 
day. The people of the coast instinctively feel that the sea is destined 
to be to them a most fruitful source of prosperity, and to deliver them 
from the miserable condition which has for a long time been their por 
tion. In a few years, thanks to the light of science, profitable fisheries 
will be established upon the coast, among which ostriculture will cer- 
tainly be the most fruitful. While, on the one hand, by means of intel- 
ligent regulation, based upon careful study of locality, myriads of young 
fish will be protected from wanton destruction by ignorant fisher- 
men, on the other measures will be taken to raise in reservoirs such 
as can bear the regimen. Shell-fisheries will also be developed wherever 
they can be established with success. The populace, attracted to the 
coast by the hope of a better livelihood, will become acquainted with 
the sea ; will learn to consider it the source of many blessings ; and 
will finally greatly augment the elements of our maritime power. 

Lieutenant, and Director of the Port of Havre, 



Naturalists divide the oysters of the eastern shores of North America 
into three species, namely : the oyster of Virginia, (Ostrea virginiana); 
the northern oyster, {Ostrea borealis); the Canadian oyster, (Ostrea 
canadensis). Notwithstanding this classification, based upon details 
of form, which in fact vary considerably, the mollusks in question, 


always found in the same latitudes, are so similar in taste that they 
may be considered merely as varieties of the same species. Dr. Gould, 
an American naturalist, admits this to be the case so far as the northern 
and Canadian oysters are concerned. However the facts may be, the 
difference between the American oyster and the European is so marked 
that a superficial examination